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The Apostolic and

Prophetic Foundation
by Donald Rumble

I strongly recommend this book

to every church leader who is
either involved in or moving
toward biblical eldership. It
does not focus on the structural
issues concerning elder-led
assemblies but instead focuses
on the spiritual issues. I consider
it a must read. If you would like
to obtain a copy of the book in
paperback, it can be ordered at
David Huston


INTRODUCTION ........................ ......................................................15
Chapter 1:

THE APOSTOLIC TASK..................... ..................................19

Gathering Unto Men Or Unto Christ? The Two-fold Apostolic Task

Chapter 2:

APOSTOLIC ATTRIBUTES....................................................26

Apostles and the Apostolic Church * Men of Revelation * Called by God

Men of Power * Bondservants * Placed First and Exhibited Last
Chapter 3: APOSTOLIC FUNCTIONS.......................................................39
Equip the Saints * Implementers and Articulators
Chapter 4: SWEEPING AWAY THE DUST................................................48
Laying the Foundation * Removing Strongholds: False Teachers
Strongholds and Insecurity * The Organization * Beholding His Glory
Chapter 5: LOSING CONTROL............................................................58
Breaking Out of Our Comfort Zone * Who's Preserving Who?
Jesus Christ, the Sufficient Foundation * Administering the Mystery
Chapter 6: WHAT ABOUT ELDERS?......................................................66
Individual and Collective Foundations * Eldership
* 1. Servants Who Lead the Flock by Example
* 2. Oversee the Functioning of Christs Body
Chapter 7: APOSTLES, ELDERS AND THE LOCAL CHURCH...............78
Who is the Greatest? * Apostles and Elders * Honoring Jesus as the Head

Chapter 8: SERVANTS AND STEWARDS..............................................89

Exalting Men * Building Wisely * Under Rowers *
Stewards of Gods Mysteries * The Mystery of Christ
Chapter 9: A LOOK AT THE PROPHETS...............................................101
A Costly Calling * Interpreting Prophecy
Chapter 10: PROPHETS: LAYING FOUNDATIONS...............................111
Prophets: A Foundational Ministry * Watchmen
Chapter 11: PROPHETS: SERVANTS IN THE CHURCH........... .................118
Prophetic Frustration * Understanding Gods Order *
Gifting and Relationship * The Church - Apostolic and Prophetic
Chapter 12: ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN?.......................................127
The Superiority of Christ * Entering His Rest * Gods Oracles * The Pattern
Chapter 13: BUILT BY WISDOM...........................................................135
Free Will Offerings * Needs and Service * Building by Wisdom
Chapter 14: DRESSING FOR THE LORDS DAY.....................................142
The Goal of Gods Judgments: A Prepared Bride * Proper Values *
Jesus - Center Stage * Mammon and Beauty * Corrupted Theology *
Dressing for the Lords Day
NOTES ..........................................................................................155
PRAYERS .....................................................................................156

This book is intended to contribute to the growing body of literature on the theme
of apostles and prophets. Whenever God restores truth, it is so the Church will
experientially grow into the reality of what He is revealing. We have heard His emphasis
concerning the restoration of these ministries and our response has been to verbalize it.
This is good. We have also tried to implement it. This is also good, but it has had mixed
A danger lies in believing we fully possess what we are speaking about. Having
correct terminology is not the same as walking in what God intended when He spoke. His
intent and our perspective of His intent are often not the same thing. We know in part
and are participating in an unfolding revelation of His person and purpose. He has much
to reveal that we are not yet ready to receive. Today God is restoring these ministries to
the Church and apostolic terminology abounds. However, we may not be as far along as
we believe.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, his concern was not only what they
built but also how they were building.
But let each one take heed how he builds.... (1Cor. 3:10)
Gold, silver and precious stones have to do not only with what is being
constructed but more importantly with the way it is being done. Jesus is the way, the truth
and the life (Jn.14:6). Many church leaders in our day point to what is occurring in their
midst as a sign of Gods approval. People are being saved, numbers are increasing, elders
function in team ministry, etc. However, as positive as these ingredients of church life
appear, the question before us is whether or not we are learning and walking in Gods
ways (Ps.103:7).
Today we stand at the end of the Charismatic renewal. That particular wave of
Gods visitation has swept in from the ocean of His purpose and has now receded back
again. Left in its wake are all the structures that have been built in the last twenty to
twenty five years. Many of these church forms are important. However, the idea that
these structures will be sufficient to contain what He is beginning to do is questionable.
This raises the question, Where is our commitment? Is it to that which has been built or is
it to Him who led us in the construction process?
It is true that we have come to understand certain aspects of moving in the Spirit.
We have tasted an anointing for service, and God has blessed much that we have done.
However, many of us have found our identity in our ministry. The words, elder,
pastor, prophet, teacher, deacon, etc. have come to have significance when we
think of who and what we are in Gods house. Here is an interesting question: What if He
asked us to lay those terms aside? What if we had to function in Gods house without
them? What if we only had the grace and anointing of God coupled with the peoples

recognition of that anointing?1

If we did not have the title of elder, pastor, etc., as a basis for why people
should listen to us, would we still have authority in their sight? This is a crucial question.
Are we training believers to respond to the Lord, or simply to men holding a position in
the church? If the removal of titles changes the way we function, then I submit to you
that perhaps our authority has become more positional than functional. Our activity has
become more a reflection of what people expect of us rather than the leading of the Holy
Spirit. In other words, the structure that formed over time through Gods operative grace
in us gradually began to take precedence over the activity of God Himself. As a result, we
have become stuck in a mold that seems to express order, but is in fact a restraint upon
the initiatives of God. At this point, corporate arthritis has set in. This is a recipe for
future shaking.
When the next wave of visitation arrives believers may well be motivated more to
accomplish certain tasks within a set structure than to respond to Gods voice. Sadly,
many today point to such activity as a mark of successful building; they are equipping
the saints. No wonder Paul said that we must take heed how we build (1Cor. 3:10)!
Lord, help us to wholeheartedly give ourselves to hearing and responding to You.
By Your grace, continue to structure Your house through the initiatives of Your Holy
Spirit in our midst. In Jesus name. Amen.

I am not suggesting that we actually get rid of these biblical terms. My question is rhetorical and is meant
to stir an examination of how we function with their use in the Church.

The Apostolic Task

Gathering Unto Men or Unto Christ?

Pauls initial topic in his first epistle to the Corinthians concerns how an
unhealthy view of the importance of men had divided the church at Corinth. Some were
saying that they were of Paul, some of Apollos, and so on. Chapters 1 and 2 of the
apostles letter reveal why there is no basis to elevate men in such a manner.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not
many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things
of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the
world to put to shame the things which are mighty; that no flesh should glory in
His presence. (1Cor. 1:26, 27, 29)
The foundation of a church is not based on the might nor the wisdom of men; it is based
on Christ who is both the power and wisdom of God (1Cor. 1:24). Whenever a leader
expresses godly wisdom, it is easy for others to think that he is very wise. If he is not
quick to give all glory to Jesus, the foundation is obscured. Jesus is not seen as the
source. People are then attracted to the speaker more than to Him who is the Wisdom of
God. This leads to Gods people gathering around men rather than being built upon
Christ. Paul made it clear to the Corinthians that it was not his wisdom or power that
established them.
I was with you in speech and my preaching were not with
persuasive words of human wisdom...that your faith should not be in the wisdom
of men but in the power of God. (1Cor. 2:3 - 5)
The wisdom seen in Paul was of God. The world simply could not understand it.
Such wisdom has not so much to do with the qualities of the man speaking as it does with
the One anointing him to speak. If ministries are not faithful to point this out, they will
build followings around themselves and the Church will be weakened.
Today, such man-centeredness is a very real problem. In any given locality, we
can find sects and groups, each with its own prominent leader(s). The united house of

God is not in evidence; instead, divisions abound in the Lords Church. It is interesting to
note that Paul began his epistle by dealing with this topic instead of the problem of sexual
immorality (1Cor. 5). I wonder how many in our day really understand this priority. It
appears that none of the other truths of Pauls letter to Corinth could be adequately
covered until this issue was first addressed.
Today, many Christian leaders are urging the Church to be more involved in
social and political issues. Our responsibilities to the society in which we live are
emphasized without seeing how our divisions undermine the message of life that society
desperately needs to hear. We must come back to this foundational issue.
In city after city, there does not exist a united church. The divisions, sects, and
groupings of Gods people do not express the glory of Gods house. It is no wonder the
world considers the Church as irrelevant. We misrepresent God when we do not express
the oneness of God!
How can our answers concerning social problems (or any other problems) have
much impact when we do not function properly as His Church? We have settled for
something less than God intended. This is not to minimize our responsibility to speak out
concerning sin in society. However, we should first reexamine our foundations and give
primary attention to the apostolic vision of the headship and centrality of Christ in the
construction of Gods house.
The Two-Fold Apostolic Task
The unity that God is restoring to His people today is not expressed in uniformity
but in diversity. He is establishing His character within each of His diverse children so
that with all our varied giftings and personalities, we will not divide from each other but
reflect the oneness that exists in Him. He is building His house for eternity. Foundational
to this is the restoration of apostolic and prophetic ministries (Eph. 2:20, 21). The unified
nature of the Church will become increasingly evident as God again raises up these two
ascension gift ministries to serve His people. Unity in the Body of Christ may well be
the most important objective of apostolic ministry. The Lord will not release the fullness
of His authority and power to a divided, disunited Church.
Let us consider the apostolic task. The word apostle means one sent forth on a
certain mission. Men were consistently sent on specific missions in the early Church:
Paul and Barnabas from Antioch (Acts 13:3, 4), Judas and Silas from Jerusalem (Acts
15:22, 27), and Peter and John from Jerusalem (Acts 8:14).
Clearly though, the most significant apostle was Jesus, who was sent forth from
the Father (Heb. 3:1). He is the perfect pattern for revealing the apostolic function. As we
consider His ministry we are able to understand what constitutes apostolic servanthood.
He was sent with a two-fold task. First, His ministry among men before Calvary:

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given
Me to do. (Jn. 17:4)
Secondly, His ministry for men at Calvary. There Jesus declared;
It is finished! (Jn. 19:30)
These two objectives should identify the work of every apostolic servant.
1. In Jn. 17:4 Jesus said that He accomplished His work. What was this work? It
was to accurately represent His Father on the earth. This was His first task. No matter
who He was with - the religious system of His day, a sick child, the multitudes, Satan, or
His twelve apostles - Jesus always represented God perfectly.
He who has seen Me has seen the Father.... (Jn. 14:9)
...He has explained Him. (Jn. 1:18 NASB)
Similarly, the first task of apostolic ministries is to accurately represent their
Sender! Notice that Paul never referred to himself as an apostle of Antioch; he was an
apostle of Jesus Christ. He was not called to represent and duplicate the experience of
Antioch everywhere he went; his objective was to reveal Christ as the foundation,
builder, and central figure of the house of God.
We are not called primarily to represent a religious system or even a local church;
we are ambassadors of Christ. We must represent His interests in the earth and not our
own. To the degree personal desires and interests become mixed with our ministry, we
cease to be apostolic. Too many men today come into various cities and towns with their
own agendas. They want people to submit to their perspective of what God is doing (or
what He is going to do now that they are in town!). True apostolic servants will seek to
ascertain what Jesus was doing in that area before they arrived. After recognizing this,
they will endeavor to align their efforts with His.
2. Jesus second task was to lay down His life as the foundation stone upon which
the house of God would be built. In His death He was the stone which the builders
rejected. However, through His Fathers predetermined plan He became the chief
cornerstone of His house (1Pet. 2:7). Even though He was rejected by the religious
leaders of His day, He was choice and precious in the sight of His Father (1Pet. 2:4).
God has purposed to build upon Him a house that will reflect the strength and
glory of its foundation. Accordingly, the second task of apostles is to lay down their lives
in service unto God so as to accurately unveil Christ the foundation. (We will look at this
in more depth later.) When they do, what will be built through their ministries will not
reflect their opinions, their ideas, their methods, their aspirations or even their
interpretation of His instructions to them. It will express Him! He desires to raise up in

every place an accurate, unique corporate expression of Himself. For this task, God must
raise up men who recognize their total inability to build anything for Him.
Thus says the Lord, Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where
then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For
My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being, declares the
Lord. But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and
who trembles at My word. (Isa. 66:1, 2 NASB)
A truly humble and contrite servant who recognizes the total impossibility of
building a house for God will keep his hands off what the Lord is constructing. He will
recognize, point to and join in with what God is bringing forth but will refuse to organize
what he thinks ought to come forth. Finally he will take no credit for what emerges from
the Spirits ministry.
Lord, forgive me for when I have constructed in Your Name those things that were
more an expression of my heart than of Yours. I lay down at Your feet all my own
perspectives of what I believe You are going to do. Cause me to be more in love with
Your person than with my opinions concerning You. And help me to discern the
difference. In Jesus name. Amen.


Apostles and the Apostolic Church

Perhaps it can be said that prophets are concerned with the manifestation of Gods
glory in His house, and apostles are consumed with building Gods house in such a way
that His glory will abide in it. If there was only prophetic input, the church might be a bit
chaotic. The house of God is not a mob of people each doing his own thing.
There is a correct way to build so that order is preserved with the spontaneous
prophetic moving of the Holy Spirit. Structure does not bring forth life, but life does give
structure. Correct building will be marked by the order and structure that springs from
His life. Much of what has been built in Christendom needs adjustment. There is a great
need for those with insight on how to build.
Apostles are ones who are sent (Grk. APOSTOLOS - one sent on a mission).
They are not pastors, teachers or evangelists who travel. The idea that apostles are local
leaders who have attained a certain level of experience is without basis in Scripture. For
example, it is possible for a young man such as Timothy to be an apostle (1Thess. 1:1;
2:6). On the other hand, God may choose to expand a mans heart, give him an apostolic
burden, and release him to travel after he has been faithful pastorally in a local church for
a number of years. That is His prerogative. The point is that an apostle is unique, with a
specific calling, burden, emphasis and function. He will have unique insight into the
mystery of the person of Christ and will seek to unveil Him as the foundation of Gods
house. There is indeed more to being an apostle than simply having a traveling ministry
(Eph. 3:4, 5).
This is not to say that pastors or teachers cannot travel in an extra-local capacity
in the Body of Christ. If the whole Church is to be apostolic in nature, then obviously
pastors, teachers and evangelists must be apostolic as well. Apostles will impart the grace
of God as the Lord causes the whole Church to become apostolic. However, that will not
make everyone in the Church an apostle.

What exactly is an apostle? It is clear that teachers teach, pastors pastor,

evangelists evangelize and prophets prophesy. But how does one apostle? This term is
unique when considered alongside the other four ministries. For example, Paul and
Barnabas came from a group of prophets and teachers (Acts 13:1). It is likely that Paul
was one of the teachers (2Tim. 1:11) and Barnabas one of the prophets. His original name
was Joseph and he had been given the name Barnabas (which means son of
encouragement) by the twelve (Acts 4:36). Since encouragement is a key ingredient of
prophecy (1Cor. 14:3), this could suggest a prophetic ministry in Barnabas. Yet both of
these men became apostles (Acts 14:14).
This indicates that in New Testament times, an apostle would function as either a
prophet or a teacher (or more probably as any of the four other ministries in a local
church) before moving out apostolically. Yet not all prophets and teachers necessarily
became apostles. For example, there is no record that Agabus - who was a prophet - ever
became an apostle, even though he traveled among the churches. Thus, apostleship is a
unique calling from God.
This raises a question: How does an apostle who has previously functioned as a
teacher differ from one who is simply a teacher? There must be unique and identifiable
elements of the apostolic ministry. Listed below are a few important attributes of all
ministries. Let us consider how they apply specifically to apostles.
* Apostles are men of revelation. Obviously, anointed teachers will function by
revelation as well. However, apostles will have a dimension of revelatory insight that will
bring a foundational impartation of Christ to those listening.
...when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which
in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been
revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit. (Eph. 3:4, 5)
That which comes forth from their ministry will reflect the anointing of the Holy
Spirit and not just mere methodology. Indeed, they are to be men of the Spirit. Their
concern is not to find out what works. Rather, their consuming passion is to see Christ
revealed on the earth in corporate expressions of His life. This is why divine order is such
an important issue to them. They do not seek to establish proper structure so they can
accomplish what they want; rather they desire Gods order implemented so that Jesus
may be revealed in great diversity all across the face of the earth.2 Whatever hinders this
must be confronted and set aside. They do not seek a place for themselves; they want only
to assist in the construction of the house God is building for Himself.
The reason they plant churches is not so they can expand their sphere of ministry;
rather, they seek to see Him extend His kingdom both in and through His people. Having
a large ministry is simply not their priority. If there is an increase of their realm of

For more on Gods strategy concerning the connection between Christs body coming to maturity and the
salvation of Israel, see The Latter Day Glory by the same author.

influence, it will merely be the by-product of the Lord increasing His government (Is.
Some men are considered to be apostles because they have been gifted in an
administrative capacity. One reason for this is our tendency to admire those who can get
the job done. Everyone loves a winner. It is often impressive to Gods people when men
take the bull by the horns and get things accomplished. In other words, many want
more than talk; they want action. It is fine to preach about mystical things like the love of
God, but how do we take it in practical terms to the world?
Men are often thought of as apostolic whenever they are able to bring theological
truths into concrete activity and mobilize others to follow them in their particular burden.
However, Gods requirements of builders in the construction of His house are very
specific. There is more involved than simply doing impressive works in the name of the
Lord. Above all, it is crucial that one be called of God to be an apostle.
* Apostles are called by God. One cannot just decide on his own to have such a
ministry. God sets the members in the body just as He desires (1Cor. 12:18). Notice how
Jesus chose the twelve.
And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted.
And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him
and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses
and to cast out demons. (Mk. 3:13 - 15)
The first priority of the apostle should be to spend time with the Lord. The
message he carries will be formed in this place of intimate relationship with Christ. How
can one be sent representing another if he does not take the time to wait and hear what is
on His heart? Thus, apostles are preeminently men of relationship. Their time with Him
takes precedence over everything else.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were
uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had
been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
The lack of consistent intimate time with the Lord is probably the primary reason
why many men propagate principles at the expense of imparting life. This is not to imply
that teaching biblical principles is wrong; we do this whenever we minister His word.
However, when we know what is on His heart for the moment, we can rise up to speak in
His Name with the full power and anointing of His presence. There simply is no valid
substitute for hearing from the Lord.
Since the very message we are called to convey is a Person, we must take time to
behold and consider His glory, His beauty, His grief, His love, His righteous indignation,
His purpose. The foundation to be laid is a Person! The Spirit we have received
...searches all things, even the depths of God. (1Cor. 2:10 NASB)

Theology is not about the study of the things of God; it is the study of God
Himself! This requires as much (if not more) time on ones knees as it does in books.
Plumbing the depths of His heart is the necessary prerequisite to the miraculous event of
communicating Him to His people. Any ministry of power to others will then come as a
reflection of this priority. Many have done miracles in Jesus name. This does not mean
they were apostles. In fact, it may not even mean they extended Gods kingdom.
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your
name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?
And then I will declare to them, I never knew (Grk. GINOSKO - this word
implies a relationship) you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! (Mt.
7:22, 23)
Intimate communion and relationship with the Lord was the missing ingredient in
the ministries of these individuals. They moved in the gifts God gave them, but they did
not walk in the close fellowship with Christ that true Kingdom ministry requires. Thus,
they worked lawlessness. In other words, they did what seemed best to them - and did it
in His name. God has not called us to do what seems best to us. He has called us to
obey Him. The fact that God moved in power through spiritual gifts operative in their
lives did not indicate His approval of their motives, methods or character. This is why
Jesus instructed us to evaluate ministries by their spiritual fruit and not by their words or
spiritual gifts (Mt. 7:15 - 23). Thus, signs and wonders by themselves cannot be the
distinguishing feature of apostles.
* It is also clear, however, that apostles are to be men of power. Jesus sent out the
twelve to preach, cast out demons and heal the sick (Mk. 3:13 - 15). It seemed that
wherever the apostles of the New Testament ministered, the power of God was
consistently manifested. The Kingdom we have been called to extend cannot be brought
to bear on society through words alone. We must have the power of God permeating our
words, our prayers and our songs.
For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power. (1Cor. 4:20
Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through
the apostles. (Acts 2:43)
Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all
perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. (2Cor. 12:12)
* Apostles are bondservants (2Cor. 4:5). They do not see themselves as more
significant than others; they consider others more important than themselves (Phil. 2:3).
They do not seek to be served, but to serve others that they might come forth in all God
has ordained for them.

...And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the
children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I
will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls... (2Cor. 12:14, 15)
In our day, a father might work and save over many years so his child could
attend college. So also Paul saw his calling to pour himself out that the Corinthian
believers could come into all that God desired for them.
Some leaders believe that the people are to serve them and fulfill their vision for
the local church. Any other vision than the one in the leaders heart would only produce a
di - vision. In other words, division comes from failure to support the goals in the heart
of the leader(s). My question is, What if the vision in Gods heart for that fellowship is
greater than what is seen by the leader(s)? (By the way, it always is.) Overseers are not
to be threatened by the emerging of Christs perspective through other members of the
On the other hand, neither must there be any rebellion in the hearts of Gods
people because leadership has only a limited view of the Lords purpose or a different
view than they have. Both pride and rebellion are addressed when true apostolic men lay
a foundation of servanthood. All believers will be challenged to not only serve each other
but to hear from one another. Elders especially will be envisioned to set the example of
servanthood! They will lead the way. Such an approach to leadership will result from the
influence of the apostles bondservant heart.
By definition, a bondservant is simply a slave (Grk. DOULOS). He does not
belong to himself any longer; he is the property of another. His whole life is given to the
purpose of seeing his Owners vision (not his own) come to pass. He is aware that his
Owner may speak through anyone He chooses (even a donkey if necessary!). When that
occurs, obedience is always the proper response. A bondservant will not seek to
perpetuate his own aspirations and desires. As James Garrett has written, one fully understands lordship nor fully experiences lordship, without
grasping the principle of the DOULOS.3 There always will be pressure on us to
do other than and more than what God has called us to do.4
He goes on to say:
There are two words in the Greek New Testament that make us aware of two
different wills of God. The first is the word BOULEE. This word and its
derivatives tend to be used for Gods irresistable will - His plan or purpose. This
is going to be accomplished and nothing can prevent it.

James W. Garrett, The DOULOS Principle, (Tulsa Christian Fellowship, P.O. Box 50130, Tulsa, OK
74150), p. 4
Garrett, p. 7

The second word is THELEMA. This word tends to be used in the sense of
wish, or desire. God does not always get His wish or desire. For instance, it is
not Gods wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance
(1Tim. 2:4, 2Pet. 3:9).5
However, it is obvious that many will not repent and so will perish.
As those who want to please the Lord and do His will, not only do we bow our
knees to His sovereign purpose, but we long to bring joy to His heart as we embrace His
* Apostles are placed in the church first and exhibited as last.
And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third
teachers... (1Cor. 12:28)
For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to
death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
(1Cor. 4:9)
How can it be that the one ministry God sets first in the Church would be
displayed as last? Yet this expresses the way of the Lord. Did He not say that the first
would be last? When He began construction of His eternal dwelling, He started with
twelve men whom He named as apostles. When He commenced to reach out to the
Gentile world, He sent an apostle to the house of Cornelius. When He began to establish
churches among the Gentiles around the Roman Empire, He sent the apostles Paul and
Barnabas. Soon prophets and teachers were also appearing on the scene with increasing
frequency. How is it then that the one ministry Jesus set first in His Church would end up
being viewed as last?
Apostles are mindful that Gods value system differs significantly from mans. In
order for His house to reflect His personality and values, it must be built with a strict
adherence to His tastes and desires. However, leaders who are constrained by the
opinions of others will ultimately fail to build Gods house according to His plans. What
others think of them will affect their response to the Lord. Clearly, the values and
methods of man have long contaminated the house God is constructing. It simply does
not reflect heaven as it should. However, God intends to reveal the glory of His value
system on the earth.
How does one work with the Lord to this end? Probably the greatest hindrances
are insecurity and the fear of man in the hearts of Christian leaders. The tendency is to
see the cost of obedience and then pull back. When men give themselves unreservedly to
the Lord and His ways (as bondservants), they will suffer persecution (2Tim. 3:12).
Sadly, this often comes from religious people who think they are rendering service to

Garrett, p. 16

God. The primary reason they bring opposition is because their values and tastes are
threatened by the structural changes sought by those with insight into Gods heart. Thus,
apostles by the very nature of their call will be seen as insignificant and irrelevant by
many (those who are comfortably entrenched in their own perspectives of divine order).
In such an atmosphere, apostles will say with Paul:
We are fools for Christs sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you
are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! Even to the present
hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and
homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless;
being persecuted, we endure it; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as
the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. (1Cor. 4:10 - 13)
Lord, we present our lives to You afresh, even right now. We want to be Your
bondservants. Send us anywhere to serve in any capacity or to speak any word that is in
Your heart for us to express. Lord, teach us Your ways that we may learn what is
valuable to You. Cause us to become an accurate reflection on the earth of Your value
system. We desire for men to look at us and not be misled concerning Your priorities. In
Jesus name. Amen.


* Apostles: given by Christ as part of His plan to equip the saints.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles...for the equipping of the saints for the
work of ministry (Grk. DIAKONIA - service), for the edifying of the body of
Christ. (Eph. 4:11, 12)
Let us be very clear. The focus of this scripture is not that apostles equip the saints.
Rather, it is the Lord Jesus who has a plan to do this.
The above verses do not say that He gave apostles to do the equipping, but so that
the equipping might occur. It would not happen without their involvement. They are
certainly part of the process, but they are not the source. The five-fold ministry is a key
part of His plan to equip His people.
Part of our problem has been a tendency to equate equipping with the word
training. R. Paul Stevens has this to say in his book, Liberating the Laity:
The Greek word for equipping, KATARTISMOS, is used as a noun only once - in
Ephesians 4:12. But the word has an interesting medical history in classical
Greek. To equip is to put a bone or a part of the human body into right
relationship with the other parts of the body so that every part fits thoroughly.6
...A Greek doctor would equip a body by putting a bone back into its correct
relationship with the other members of the body.7
When it comes to the Body of Christ, only the Lord can properly fit His people
together (1Cor. 12:18)!
He intends that His Church come to wholeness. Anointed apostolic ministry is but
part of the Messiahs plan to bring this to pass. He will anoint apostles with insight
concerning the integration of His people into a corporate body at the local, regional and

R. Paul Stevens, Liberating The Laity, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), p. 25
Stevens, p. 111

international levels. We see a great need for just this type of ministry as we view the
Lords Church today. Too often men have attempted to organizationally fit together the
Church both locally and extra-locally. Consistently, this has resulted in an individual
placed in the top position of each of the various organizations or denominations that have
emerged. However, what is needed is apostolic foundational insight which maintains the
Lord Jesus as the only head.
On the natural plane, the human body gives us an example of the Lords goal for
us. Physical soundness is expressed when the many diverse parts of the human body
work together in harmony and reflect the thoughts of the mind. Similarly, apostles and
elders (other mature men in the five-fold ministry) are to oversee and contribute to the
process of the many individual members learning to move as one with Him. The goal is
not to simply move in harmony with the inclination of those who hold the top position in
a particular organization or movement.
Similar to the Greek word KATARTISMOS is KATARTIZO which is translated
as mending in verse twenty one of Matthew 4 and as restore in verse one of Galatians
And going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee,
and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets.
(Mt. 4:21)
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such
a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Gal.
In the preceding verse, Pauls reference is ministry to an individual. When one
has fallen in sin, that person needs to be restored. This is primarily a restoration of
relationship - both to the Lord and to the local church. Spiritual health cannot be achieved
apart from proper relationship, both in the vertical and the horizontal dimensions. We
have often missed the correlation between individual spiritual soundness and the
necessity of being properly meshed with the Body of Christ. However, God has worked
this into the design of His overall purpose. As Roland Allen has indicated in his excellent
book, Missionary Methods: St. Pauls Or Ours?:
(Paul) did not teach (unbelievers) that they would find salvation by themselves
alone, but that they would find it in the perfecting of the Body of Christ.8
God is after both corporate as well as personal spiritual health for His people.
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated,
but rather be healed. (Heb. 12:13)

Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Pauls Or Ours?, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B Eerdmans Co.,
1962), p. 76

Our tendency over the years has been to view the passage in Ephesians 4 in terms
of simply training individual Christians for service in the Church. However, Paul's
concern was a godly body! We have not emphasized nor adequately assisted believers in
learning how to move as one under Christs headship.
We have thought that our mandate was simply to train each believer for their
ministry. Even when we gathered the whole church together, the idea was still that each
person would be more equipped to fill his or her unique role in the assembly.
While there is truth to this, I do not believe this was Pauls primary intent in the
passage. The context of Ephesians 4 is corporate. The apostle envisions a mature
corporate man emerging in the earth and growing up in all things into Him who is the
head - Christ (Eph. 4:15). In other words, the Body would mature to the place where it
would be apparent that the Head and body are working as one. For this to occur, there
would have to be corporate mending and restoration (i.e., the forming of the image of
Christ corporately), not just individuals trained in their gifts.
The equipping of the saints is the proper integration of the particular parts to form
a complete organism. The mending, restoration and training of individual lives would
only be accomplished within the context of the Body beginning to function with all its
diverse gifts and operations. The result would be the emergence of Gods corporate
servant on the earth (Is. 41:8 - 16).
This corporate servant would be made up of individual servants progressively
coming into greater wholeness through their proper relationship with both the Lord and
His Church. As the Body of Christ began to both find its corporate identity and then also
to move out in servanthood, it would be built up (similar to how a weightlifter builds up
his physical body). Then we would see the unity of the faith fleshed out in clear
unmistakable terms. This is Gods objective (Eph. 4:11 - 16).
However, because our focus has been almost totally on the training of individuals
within the Church, the consequence has been more a disintegration than the integration
God has sought. We have not seen a practical building up of Christs body, but of
individual ministries, organizational movements and para-church organizations.
Teachers have tended to start assemblies that focus on sound biblical teaching and
Bible schools that equip believers in the Scriptures. Prophets have started prophetic
churches, prophetic movements and schools of the prophets in order to train prophetic
people. Pastors have trained pastoral men to lead churches and care for Gods people.
Evangelists have consistently endeavored to stir up the saints concerning Gods heart for
the lost. (How we need godly evangelists to be properly meshed with local expressions of
Christs body! Gods corporate servant will never come forth adequately without them.)

Yet, with all this activity, we have not seen the emergence of the corporate man
that Paul described in Ephesians 4. Instead, we have seen division and fragmentation. The
restoration of apostles to the Church in our day is part of Christs plan to remedy this.
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all
speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be
perfectly joined together (Grk. KATARTIZO) in the same mind and in the same
judgment. (1Cor. 1:10)
* Apostles are implementers and articulators. A quick glance at the New
Testament reveals that it was penned primarily by apostles. Apostles are men who
articulate the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:3 - 5). Their concern is for theological accuracy.
They will challenge any teaching that diminishes the person or work of Jesus or which
draws attention away from Him.
When some questionable method (for attaining maturity, for hearing the voice of
God, for bringing down spiritual forces of darkness, for establishing new churches, etc.)
appears on the scene, they will find it difficult to remain silent for the sake of unity.
To many believers, unity occurs when Gods people rally around a present
emphasis of truth that has produced favorable results in some leaders life, church or city.
Our tendency is to gravitate toward what works. However, what works in one city
might be totally different than the way in which God intends to accomplish some of the
same goals in another city.
It is true that we can glean much from those who have touched Gods strategy for
their particular area. Clearly though, we must learn to lay hold of the Head of the Church,
find His mind and seek to implement His strategy for where we live. Apostles will not
simply propagate some new method of church planting or spiritual warfare that seems to
be working for them. They will have an anointing to help local churches see the practical
steps needed to implement the present emphasis Jesus is making in their locale. Those
who love Him will hear His voice and rally to Him. This is the key to true unity.
Today we have a generally workable system within Christendom where much is
accomplished. We take pastors and put them into local church settings. We take
evangelists and put them out on the streets or on TV. We take teachers and put them into
classroom settings such as are found in Bible schools. Then we get rid of apostles and
prophets. (They were only for the early church.) As we view the present scene we
think, Well, what we have isnt bad.
But God is not at all satisfied with the present condition of His people. He is again
raising up these two ministries on the earth. The problem is that they just dont fit the
present system as it stands!
There are many men today in denominations and restoration churches who try to
fit the mold of a good pastor, teacher or evangelist. But deep inside them there is a

different flavor to the burden they have in their hearts. Many have not understood the
reason for their internal frustration as they tried to fit in with their groups program.
Some have indeed understood their call to the prophetic or apostolic ministry, but there
has been no recognition of this by those around them.
Today, though, this is changing. The Lord is again raising up and giving apostles
and prophets to the Church, until we all attain to the unity of the a mature
man.... (Eph. 4:13 NASB)
Lord, only You can integrate Your people into a corporate expression of Yourself.
Pour out Your Spirit upon us and do the work in us that is necessary. Raise up men in our
midst who will be truly given to Your agenda, to building what You have foreknown from
eternity. In Jesus name. Amen.

Sweeping Away the Dust

Laying the Foundation

The Lord takes longer to build His house than His people often feel comfortable
with. He plans to live in it forever. Therefore, He builds according to His own
Gods specs have to do with the hearts of His people. Bringing heart attitudes
and motives into line with His holy character always takes longer than assembling and
tuning a well oiled machine. Those who are more concerned with quick results than
with seeing that the holiness of God emerges in His people will take shortcuts and, in the
end, will wind up with something other than what God intended. Remember, the goal is
to reveal Christ. Apostles will endeavor to reveal Him as the foundation and builder of
God's house.
...having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
Himself being the chief cornerstone... (Eph. 2:20) a wise master builder I have laid the foundation....For no other foundation
can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1Cor. 3:10, 11)
This verse makes it clear that the foundation stone has already been laid. It was
being set in place way back in the days of Isaiah.
Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the
foundation. (Is. 28:16 NASB)
Old Testament history reflects the activity of God in clearing away the ground
and setting the stage that He may lay His perfect cornerstone into place. The question we
face is, How do we lay a foundation that has already been set in place by God?
Again, the issue is not so much that we work for God as it is to cooperate with
Him in His activity. We must recognize Christ in His proper God-given place in the

midst of His people. God has designed His Church to be built upon the person of His Son.
But a major problem in the Church is the dust that religion has piled up concealing the
Rock beneath. We must sweep aside everything that obscures Him! Many things, such as
fear, insecurity, religious tradition, selfish ambition, jealousy, competitiveness and
confidence in our own abilities will hinder the unveiling of Jesus Christ as Lord in the
Removing Strongholds: False Teachers
There are many strongholds in the Church that have been constructed in the minds
of Gods people. These inhibit the revelation of the Lord in our midst. One of the
functions of apostolic men is to help us recognize and remove these hindrances.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the
weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down
strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself
against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the
obedience of Christ. (2Cor. 10:3 - 5)
False teachers had come to the Corinthians and undermined Pauls authority. The
strongholds that had been constructed in the minds of the believers through heretical
teaching had not only produced doubt in them concerning Paul (2Cor. 10:10, 11), but
they had obscured God in their midst. These strongholds (fortresses) were lofty things or
high places (Grk. HUPSOMA - height cf. Rom. 8:39) that were raised up against the
revelation of God among His people. This is one of Satans primary objectives - to
prevent God from receiving His proper recognition first in the Church and then also in
the world. However, there is emerging a clear trumpet sound that Christ must come to
have first place in everything - especially His own Church (Col. 1:18). He must break
forth in our midst!
The restoration of the Church is not simply a restoration of certain truths and
ministries to Gods people. It is the restoration of Gods Son to His rightful place in our
midst. Divine order is reflected when a people on the earth give to the Son the same place
of honor and authority that the Father has given Him in the heavens. Paul set out to
recapture the thoughts of the people and bring them into obedience to Christ. Apostolic
declaration of Gods word has the effect of exposing whatever is exalted among Gods
people and thereby obscuring the Lord.
Strongholds and Insecurity
Where do these high places come from in our midst? Have we constructed some
of them ourselves? Rather than blame false teachers (obviously that can be one source),

let us repent for the ones we have erected. Many of us have gone through traumatic
experiences (child abuse, rejection, parental neglect, etc.) that have produced insecurity
in us. As a result, we have built strongholds of defensiveness, judgmental attitudes, anger
and self-centeredness as places of security. We must recognize that Jesus Himself can be
our only stronghold. He is our port of refuge (Ps. 62:8; 91:9)! We must run into Him,
abide in Him - and there find safety.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Prov. 18:10)
Whenever we construct anything in which to find security, we are establishing a
false stronghold, an alternative to God. This is where idolatry comes from. Idolatry in the
Church has its roots both in our pride, as well as in our doubt that He will be to us all that
He has promised.
For example, greed is idolatry (Col. 3:5). When we do not trust God to be our
sufficiency, we turn from Him and in our pride gather an abundance of material goods to
make us feel secure concerning our future. Physical wealth can never bring the inner
assurance that only the Lord can give.
Not only have many individual Christians sought safety in material wealth, many
churches have done so as well. It is expressed something like this: We must have a nice
building in which to meet if we would be a successful church in this city. Nice buildings
to meet in can be a blessing. Clearly though, the thought pattern that a local church must
have a building in order to impact its city is a stronghold that God wants to tear down.
The problem lies in our insecurity concerning what God has said about our
identity. He identifies us as His people. However, many in our society (including some
Christians) think of the church as a physical building. Church is a place you go to. If one
goes to church, then it is important that the church reflect our heavenly priorities. In
other words, we must put much time, effort and money into building something that
brings glory to God. However, the Scriptures teach that God does not dwell in
buildings made with hands. He is glorified when we submit to His Spirit as He works His
nature and character into our lives. The result of misdirected priorities concerning
buildings is that more and more attention is given to these natural edifices than to Him
who is the Builder of His eternal dwelling.
The Organization
Another stronghold (or high place) in our midst is the need some believers have
for titles and organized structure. Again, whatever we construct to give us a sense of
identity and safety is an alternative to Christ who is to be our only refuge.

Our tendency is to seek distinctiveness and usefulness by fitting into the defined
positions of an organization. However, our true identity is found only as we abide in the
presence of the One who created us. He has a unique place of service where He wants to
meet with each of us. His purpose is to carve out from heaven a particular niche in His
house for every one of His children and then woo us individually to Himself in that
special place - so that where He is, there we may be also (Jn. 14:1-3). The key to finding
our individual sphere in Gods house is simply that we pursue Him!
Too often, His efforts to build His house in this manner are hindered by our
attempts to bring order. The false sense of security that comes from our endeavors to
bring definition to a struggling group of believers is a stronghold that hinders the
unveiling of the One who alone brings true peace and corporate formation. The Holy
Spirit must be released in our midst to build His house; He must be free to set the course
toward divine structure.
This is not to say that the local church is to be an aimless chaotic gathering.
While a brand new group probably will appear somewhat haphazard, the divine pattern
will emerge over time as Gods people submit to His leading within them to serve. Local
leadership will oversee this process. Apostolic and prophetic input can be a tremendous
help during this time as well.
Apostles will not only seek to understand what the Lord is doing, but be sensitive
to how the Holy Spirit wants them to guide, admonish, fine-tune, etc. It is precisely
during this time of corporate structuring that the tendency to organize by human ability
will be strongest. It must be resisted. Remember, we are to recognize what Jesus is
bringing forth, rather than simply organizing what most quickly gets the job done.
What the Lord establishes through His life will then reflect His headship instead of the
organizational and administrative skills of men. We flirt dangerously with idolatry when
we do not understand these things (Gen. 11:4).
The Church is to express the character and nature of God. Just as Jesus
represented the Father, so we are to represent Him. This is the essence of being an
apostolic people. The alternative is idolatry.
Scripture forbids us to make any graven image in the likeness of God. Since He is
infinite, how could finite man ever create anything that could adequately explain Him? It
would always fall short of His glory and misrepresent Him. Yet this is precisely what we
do when we attempt to corporately build through our own strength a work in His Name.
Then, when we say, This is what God is like, we guarantee His judgment upon our
endeavors. The end result is often an organization with members who are more devoted
to and identified with it than with Christ.
Beholding His Glory

The greatest instrument God has given to bring us corporately into the image of
Christ is Himself. His promise to us is that as we behold Him, we will be changed.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are
being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of
the Lord. (2Cor. 3:18)
I always interpreted this verse as a promise to individuals. While this is certainly
valid, it was not Pauls primary thought. The Corinthian church was in need of major
adjustment. While they had obeyed the apostles first letter to put out of the church the
unrepentant immoral man (1Cor. 5:1 - 5), they had not properly recognized his response
of sorrow and repentance. To minister to them, Paul began to contrast the Old Covenant
of death, condemnation and impermanence with the New Covenant of eternal glory and
righteousness (2Cor. 3:1 - 11).
When he looked at the Corinthian church, he could not see the abiding glory of
God resting upon them as he desired. Yet he spoke with great boldness and hope
concerning what God had promised (2Cor. 3:12). There would come forth a people
ministering the Spirit and glory of God on the earth. One thing he refused to do was to be
as Moses, who put something over his face to disguise the fact that the glory was fading.
...unlike Moses, who used to throw a veil over his face to hide from the gaze of
the children of Israel the passing away of what was but transitory. (2Cor. 3:13
Today, churches have often put on external veils to convey to the world and
other believers that the glory is in their midst when in fact it has faded. However,
theological degrees, beautiful buildings, clerical robes and talented musicians are no
substitute for the glory of God. How much better it is to face up to the reality of
emptiness than to communicate falsehood. The bottom line is that we either have His
glory permeating our gatherings or we have artificial alternatives that mask our
barrenness. These may seem impressive to men but they have no power to change lives.
To this day, the same veil that was upon Moses lies over the corporate heart of the
nation of Israel (2Cor. 3:14, 15). That veil communicates to the Jewish people that the
glory can still be found in the law of Moses. However, God is moving today and
revealing His Son among them and...when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
(2Cor. 3:16)
The result is both liberty in the Spirit and a taste of the glory of God that is found
in the face of Jesus Christ (2Cor. 3:17, 18; 4:6). Paul goes on to say that this was the hope
for the Corinthian church. As they would all come (both Jew and Gentile) into the
presence of God and behold His glory, they would experience corporate transformation.
Today, Gods glory is the only hope we have for the churches we serve. Too
many believers think of Church restoration in terms of simply having gifts of the Spirit,

effective evangelistic programs, and some measured function of the five-fold ministries
(apostles, prophets, etc.). However, a restored Church will only emerge when all veils
have been removed. We must stop portraying to others a false picture of an abiding glory
when we have substituted many things in its place. We must repent for supplanting the
power of God with the strength of man. We must see our total inability to build Gods
house in our own power and face up to our barrenness. Then as we turn to Him with an
unveiled face we will behold and be transformed into the image of the One we are
viewing. God will not be satisfied with anything less than the image of His Son in us.
Jesus is our goal.
Lord, sweep away in my own personal life any stronghold that I have constructed
as a part of my personality for a place of security and refuge. I know that it will only
hinder the revelation of You in my life. Bring forth a purity of expression of Your Spirit in
me. In Jesus Name. Amen.


Breaking Out of Our Comfort Zone

What does it mean for Jesus Christ to be the foundation of a local church? Simply
this: everything must depend on Him! Our human insecurity causes us to build in such a
way that, just in case He doesnt come through, the work can still go on. Knowing how
to have good meetings, whether or not God moves in our midst, is a sign of human
religion. How foolish we are to continue in such activity.
We know we should be totally dependent on the Lord; yet something within us
pulls us away from this. We somehow entertain the idea that our efforts will guarantee
the success of His kingdom. The truth is that He alone is the guarantee that His efforts
will succeed. Our hope must be in Him (1Tim. 1:1).
Christianity is to be a miraculous experience of Gods life. If His manifest
presence were to be suddenly withdrawn from a local church, all business as usual
activity should stop while the people seek for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit.
Nevertheless, instead of building this way, many leaders endeavor to keep the ball
rolling. Human effort actually increases! As a result, the tendency is then to try to
control meetings, the focus of what is ministered, where people should relate, etc. It is
true that oversight does involve watching over the flock of God, keeping error out, and
warning younger sheep about situations where they could stumble. Clearly though, godly
oversight is not control.
Human nature tends to wield too much control over what goes on in Christian
gatherings. Our corporate times together in the river of God are spent with the water up to
our ankles, knees, or waist (Ezek. 47). It feels so good to touch bottom, enjoy the water
of life and only go as far as is comfortable. However, the river cannot take us anywhere
until we totally trust Him and launch out to where it is impossible to stand.
When we abandon ourselves to Him, the whole work rests solely on Him - and we
lose control! At this point, meetings will begin to go in directions that the eldership did
not plan beforehand. God does not always read the bulletin prior to the gathering to

make sure He is in order. Our attempts to keep Him within our comfort zone not only
reflect our pride, they will consistently be inadequate. He is always breaking out of manmade constraints to express Himself more fully.
Jesus did not fit in the comfort zone of the Pharisees. He was just too different
from what they were expecting from their Messiah. They were more comfortable with
their interpretation of what Messiah ought to look like than with the reality of God
Himself in their midst. When He walked out of the temple declaring it to be desolate of
Gods glory, many did not understand the importance of what was occurring. Similarly,
many Christian groups have experienced a diminishing of Gods manifest presence in
their midst and have not understood either the significance or the reasons why.
Whos Preserving Whom?
As with many Jewish leaders of the first century, it is a tendency of some builders
in our day to reject the Cornerstone.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. (1Pet. 2:7)
It is not that they reject Him as their Savior, but as the One on whom their whole
ministry rests. In other words, they often get more enamored with results than with the
process. What works can become more important than endeavoring to walk in harmony
with Gods Spirit.
However, if God is building for His own eternal habitation, then the way in which
His house is constructed is of paramount importance to Him. We must allow Him full
access to the gatherings - so that He may bring His perspective of what the interior of His
home ought to look like. Often though, it is easier to opt for order and a measure of
Gods glory than to let go and allow Gods people to respond spontaneously to Him.
His life will produce what some might view as disorder - but which is, in reality,
the beginnings of a corporate move into new dimensions of Gods order. We cannot
structure the house of God! He alone is able to do that. He knows the unique place where
each of us belongs. He knows the dormant grace that is in the hearts of those who have
not been able to emerge in ministry because the structure of their local church afforded
no opportunity.
Of course, this is not to say that we are not to recognize and suggest certain
practical tasks that need to be prayerfully accomplished for the benefit of the local
church. However, it must be the Holy Spirit who confirms in peoples hearts where they
are to serve.

Some may say, If I dont maintain control, the work will fall apart! But it is
better to have God shake the work today and find out what will not stand than to wait for
His return and find out too late that what was built has fallen.
Many feel that they preserve the life of God by what they have built. They look at
their leadership, their home groups, their prophetic musicians, etc., and think,
Hallelujah, Gods life is flourishing in our city. In reality though, what we build does
not preserve His life; rather, it is His life that preserves us (Rom. 11:18; Jn. 15:4, 5).
Where do we place our trust? Is it in our structure, our teachers, pastors, apostles, home
group leaders and musicians? Or, is it in Him who is the life of His people?
Our human tendency is to get things turned around. While we desire to see His
house built in our midst, we too easily fail to believe He will build it. So we put our
hands on the work of the Lord and bring our strength to bear in maintaining order.
Jesus gave us clear warning concerning mans inflexible attempts to contain His Spirit.
He said His new wine would destroy old wineskins. In trying to hold on to what we have,
we guarantee that we shall lose it! On the other hand, inflexible corporate structures of
themselves are not the primary problem; they are merely symptoms of old wineskins.
First and foremost, God is after our hearts.
There is much prayer for revival today, yet many of us will be shaken when it
comes. Many leaders will either endeavor to squelch it because it will upset their
normal way of functioning and leave them without control, or they will try to grab hold
of what God is doing and redirect it in a way more agreeable to their own concepts of
church order. We must let go of the reins to have the freedom which God requires to
restore His many-membered body. What the Lord seeks to do in the Church is to reveal
new dimensions of His glory that will both surprise us and amaze the world!
Jesus Christ, the Sufficient Foundation
It would be foolish for anyone to believe he fully understands what God is raising
up. Our insight is limited, for....we see in a mirror, dimly.... (1Cor. 13:12).
This raises an obvious question. How do we build in anticipation of a God who
refuses to do things our way? Very simply: we must build on a foundation that
anticipates all that is to be built on it.
If one plans to build a small doghouse, he doesnt need a very large base; if he
intends to erect a magnificent mansion, then a sufficient foundation must be set in place.
The house that God is presently building is beyond what the whole Body of Christ
(including its apostles and prophets) can conceive! How then are we to proceed?
If we simply minister our interpretation of who Christ is to people (dispensing
information), then what is built will be limited by the limited definition we bring to the

foundation. On the other hand, if we impart Christ Himself through our lives and
teaching, Gods people will seek to increasingly know and respond to Him. Then, as all
of us come more into harmony with Him, He will bring definition to the corporate
structure of Gods house.
Administering the Mystery
Paul understood Gods strategy and gave himself to proclaiming the unfathomable
riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8). He preached and disseminated wealth that he discovered by
revelation hidden in the Son. People were then drawn to the Lord Jesus to begin
plumbing the depths of His person.
The treasures in Him were and are beyond human capacity to grasp. Something
that is unfathomable is so deep that it is impossible either to understand with a finite mind
or to communicate with a finite language. Yet this was the task before Paul - and it lies
before us as well. Preaching the gospel is not hard; it is impossible! Apart from the
anointing and grace of God, we will only give information. Even if that information is
biblically accurate, it will not bring the power of God to bear on the hearers. What we
then build corporately will reflect the limitation of our human understanding. However,
God wants the Church to reveal His Son! Therefore God raised up Paul to
...bring to light what is the administration of the mystery, which for ages has been
hidden in God who created all things. (Eph. 3:9 NASB)
God does not want the mystery of His Son hidden from the eyes of the world
forever. He has a plan to administer it on the earth. Is it that He will raise up a few mighty
prophets who will reveal the great mysteries of Gods Son? Or perhaps some powerful
intercessors will gain the insight we need. Or maybe a housewife? What do the scriptures
say? the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the
church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. (Eph. 3:10)
God intends to reveal His multi-faceted wisdom to both the seen and unseen
realms through His people! This precious treasure will only be disclosed as the whole
Church is released to bring whatever facet of insight each member is carrying within.
Jesus must be released to speak in our midst through whomever He desires. This is
according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph.
Of course, this does not negate the need for loving oversight of the gatherings.
God wants those who are spiritually mature to train His people to become increasingly
accurate in hearing and obeying Him.

When fellowships are formed and controlled by our hands we can only expect
shakings; when they are fashioned by His life, we can expect glory and the revelation of
Gods manifold wisdom. Because He does love us, He will shake everything we have
built that can be shaken so that we have the opportunity to repent and build correctly.
From Scripture we see how apostolic ministries of the early church were
concerned with building properly. The apostolic burden today is to be the same - that
Gods house be constructed correctly. Even though much has been erected in the name of
Jesus, it all falls short of Gods ultimate intent. Mixture abounds. The Lord is going to
root this mixture out of His Church. It may be difficult to let go of what we have grown
accustomed to. However, if we desire His glory, we will make the necessary adjustments.
Lord, first root the mixture out of my heart and then out of that which I do in Your
name. Cause there to be a purity of Your life springing forth in me and in the fellowship
of believers of which I am a part. In Jesus name. Amen.

What About

Individual and Collective Foundations

Apostolic ministry is responsible for laying proper foundations - revealing Jesus
Christ as Gods chosen foundation stone. If the foundation is faulty, the building will be
Christians all recognize that individual lives are built upon the Lord Jesus, but
many fail to see that He is also the foundation upon which our collective lives are built as
a fellowship. In other words, we see our need to totally depend on Him to be our life, our
strength and our salvation when it comes to living holy lives. We recognize our need to
be born of the Spirit and continually filled with the Spirit. We believe that He can lead us
individually into strategic situations and anoint us to bring words of life to unbelievers.
But we then fail to believe He can orchestrate us into a unique expression of His mind
when we gather together in one place. Hence, in order to prevent chaos and anarchy, we
exercise as elders authority and set in motion our interpretation of what should occur.
One problem in the Church has been the use of titles and offices. These convey to
the sheep the impression that there is authority resting in the one who merely has a title or
who occupies an office. However, the only source of authority is in the anointing and the
grace given to us. Howard Snyder said it well.
God provides for leadership in the Church through the exercise of the gifts of the
Spirit. This is Gods ecclesiology.
Our understanding would be clearer if we remember the fundamental meaning
of words that have come to be known only as titles. These terms were understood
in New Testament times not as ecclesiastical titles but as practical functions.

Some of these terms had been used for leaders in Judaism (for instance, elder),
while others were common in Greek culture. But each term was taken over by the
church because it described an emerging leadership function.9
While we might identify our ministry function, we should not do so as a title. For
example, Paul often referred to himself as, Paul, an apostle. This was simply a
declaration of his function. He never introduced himself as, The apostle Paul. This
would have denoted a title. What would the Church look like in our day if leaders laid
down all titles and official positions of authority in the church?
At this point in our discussion some may feel that I am advocating anarchy. The
elders are not to run things, so lets allow everybody to do whatever they want. May it
never be!
Divine order is exactly that. It is the divinely arranged assembly of the individual
parts of Christs body into a collective whole. It is accomplished by His life residing
within each member, as each one expresses that life.
This begs a question (or two!): How should those with the responsibility of
church government function in this scenario? What is spiritual authority? How does it
operate in the Church?
The Greek word translated as authority in the New Testament is EXOUSIA. A
primary way in which the writers used this word was as, the right to speak, act or
...He taught them as one having authority (EXOUSIA), and not as the scribes.
(Matt. 7:29)
The difference between Jesus teaching and that of the scribes was that when He claimed
to speak for God, He had the right to do so.
What gives a person the right, the authority to stand and speak on behalf of the
Lord in our day? First, they must be sent by Him with a word from His heart. (Both the
content of the word and the timing of its delivery are crucial ingredients here.) Secondly,
they must speak it in the way that accurately represents Him. This requires the
development of proper character in their lives.
Elders are to be men of proven character who over time are consistently found
with the word of the Lord in their mouths. The people will respond to them not because
they hold a title, but because they consistently impart Gods heart to them. How then
does an eldership function in the local church? The answer to this comes in two parts.

Howard A. Snyder, The Community of the King, (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977), pp. 82,

1. God has called elders to be servants who lead the flock by example.
A group of elders is to seek and comprehend the mind of Christ for oversight
through prayer, fasting, studying the Scriptures and submitting to the various gifts of the
Holy Spirit in each other. Often, because men fail to believe that collegial functioning
will consistently work, one among them is appointed to be the senior or presiding
elder who will then make the final decision in case there is an impasse. The New
Testament writings reveal no such position in the early church. Alexander Strauch
The New Testament does not give the slightest hint that the eldership is to be
presided over by a pastor.10
He continues:
Shared, brotherly leadership by ordinary men, who are empowered by the Holy
Spirit (Acts 20:28), is the structure established by the apostles because it best
enables the church to function as the body of Christ.11
Ordaining a senior elder before the flock gives the false impression that many
cannot come to unity through genuine submission to the Spirit of God, the Scriptures and
each other. As a result, faith is hindered in the hearts of Gods people that He will ever be
able to unify the many diverse parts of His body. If our elders cant come to agreement
as they seek to respond to Gods Spirit together, what hope is there for us as a fellowship
to move as one?
Unity then can only be conceived of as attainable through ecumenical and
organizational methods. The key words become compromise and submission. Such
an approach to unity requires men to compromise in order to find the middle ground that
all can stand on, even if it means agreeing to things some consider wrong. It also
demands that people submit to the plans of the one(s) in the leading position(s) of the
association. Unity then is seen as the accomplishing of stated goals within a peaceful
However, unity in the biblical sense is the revelation of the nature of God through
a diverse people (Jn. 17:11, Eph. 4:1 - 16). Organizational methods will never achieve the
miracle of bodyness (many different people with distinct giftings moving as one under
the headship of Christ). Real unity is miraculous and requires the glory of God (Jn. 17:21
- 23). We will never achieve it apart from absolute humility and brokenness on our part
(the recognition of our total inability to produce it) and the active ministry of the Holy
Spirit in our midst to perform this great end-time sign to the nations (Phil. 1:27, 28).


Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership, (Littleton, CO: Lewis and Roth Publishers, 1986), pp. 12, 13
Strauch, p. 16

This brings us to a significant point. We are not suggesting that an eldership is to

function as a co-equality of men. It is obvious that the elders will each have different
giftings, personalities, and levels of maturity. There will be great diversity in how each
serves. For example, a prophets contribution to the care of the flock will be totally
different than that of a teacher or pastor. Yet they will seek to serve together, maintaining
their unique approaches to ministry while also functioning in harmony with the Lords
mind (i.e., maintaining the headship of Christ).
This does not mean that each elder must be in on the discussion or handling of
every problem that surfaces in the local church. Pastors need to be released to handle
pastoral concerns without trying to get the teachers to think, act or serve like pastors.
When theological problems do come up, they should see their own limitation and take
advantage of the anointing that the teacher brings to the team.
Evangelists must be released in their concern for the lost as well as stirring up the
saints toward the world. They must not be pushed into a teaching, prophetic or pastoral
mold in their ministry just to fulfill some general idea of the normal elder.
Prophets need to be prophets. If you want to drive a prophet crazy, just require
him to attend elders meetings where a multitude of pastoral problems are constantly
being discussed. In fact, the elders meeting should not generally be dominated by the
problems each is facing in his own sphere (Obviously, there can be some time allotted for
this). Rather, time together should be for worship, studying the Scriptures, waiting on the
Lord, prayer and building strong relationships with each other.
Good lines of communication as well as high levels of trust are essential
ingredients if each elder is to be released into his own unique area of service. Without
this release, the eldership itself becomes its own bottleneck. The need for each elder to
constantly clear all decisions in his sphere with the other men will both hamper his
freedom to obey the Lord as well as bog down the elders meeting. Thus, what could
have been precious times together before the Lord become nothing more than
administrative decision-making marathons concerning numerous details of the church;
they become business meetings.
Proper shepherding of the flock will only be fully realized when all the ministries
are released to bring their particular flavor to the people. Harmony will only be
achieved and maintained at the eldership level if these men move in the mind of Christ
with hearts of humility and accountability toward each other. This then sets the example
for the people to follow. The way into corporate unity is being fleshed out before them.
Scripture teaches that Jesus wants His Church to move in such conspicuous unity
that even unbelievers will see it and marvel (Jn. 17:21 - 23). In order to accomplish this,
He has given us His Spirit that we may know His mind and be transformed in character
into His likeness.

Authentic unity will only be attained as we are filled with the presence of the
Holy Spirit and become humble and broken people. Humble men and women do not
attempt to push their ideas or interpretations of Scripture on others. They do not seek to
manipulate others through their financial giving or their political maneuverings. Their
pursuit is of Him and His purpose. On the other hand, neither will they simply yield to
others for the sake of peace. Godly unity does not require the suppression of ones
While it is true that those with an agenda to accomplish may achieve a measure of
organizational unity around their ministry and their stated goals, they will not bring forth
Christs body as a functional corporate expression of the Head until they lay aside their
objectives and seek His. His plans in the comprehensive sense will only be understood
over time as we listen for His voice through a multitude of counselors. Individuals alone
will never ascertain the fullness of His purpose. We have the mind of Christ. We must
listen for the word of the Lord through others in the church.
Elders must exemplify this lifestyle by learning to function in full view of the
congregation as a plurality that comes into harmony through prayer, interaction,
submission to each other - and listening for Gods voice through anyone (even the
youngest believer in the church) that He might choose to speak through.
2. Elders are to oversee the functioning of Christ's body.
Many have thought that elders are to mediate the mind of Christ to His people.
But Scripture is clear that this is the Holy Spirits function (Jn. 16:13, 14). The whole
Church is to be filled with His presence; God is to be free to speak through anyone He
On the other hand, body ministry will not necessarily occur just because everyone
in a room has the freedom to talk. That may merely produce a religious form of group
therapy - people gathered together for the purpose of talking about whatever is bothering
them. Body ministry is a miraculous event, occurring when the mind of Christ is revealed
through a diverse company of people. Jesus headship is expressed when He speaks
through whomever He wishes.
One important factor is how to order our times of corporate worship. In too many
places musicians function as a musical clergy, with the congregation being the laity.
God identifies the songs to sing only to those playing instruments up front. The rest then
wait on the musicians rather than on God! Is it possible we are beginning to run the risk
of denying the priesthood of the believer in the realm of our corporate worship? The fact
that God could have a song spring forth spontaneously from the congregation is
downplayed for fear that the corporate time of worship will degenerate into a songfest

with everyone feeling free to call out their favorite songs. However, the Church needs to
be trained in these matters, not denied the opportunity to arise.12
Many fellowships have recognized the truth concerning plurality of eldership.
They realize that the generally practiced method of church government where one man
pastors and leads the flock is unsatisfactory. One man simply cannot express to the
gathered saints all the dimensions of Christs leadership.
Only Jesus is apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist all rolled into one.
Even if someone did have a dimension of all five ministries functioning in his life, the
task of caring for Gods flock would still be too great for one man to handle. For one
thing, there are only so many hours in a day. However, as good as it is to have a plural
eldership, it is not enough. God is not restoring the five-fold ministries simply to care for
and minister to His people. He has been bringing forth these servants in His Church that
He might see the whole body start to function. If we do not understand this, we will wind
up with a plural clergy doing the ministry and a laity that is perpetually being trained
but never released to act.
By the way, how did the terms clergy and laity come to have such
significance in the Church today? Consider this quote from an excellent book.
One of the first truths lost by the early Church, beginning with the teaching
of Ignatius in the second century, was the fact that a local church is a spiritual
organism, a local expression of the Body of Christ in which each member is
anointed to function in ministry. The teaching of Ignatius was largely responsible
for the emerging of two classes of believers, clergy and laity. Over time, the latter
became spectators, with valid ministry being limited to a professional class of
men qualified by education and ordained within a hierarchical order of leaders.
The importance of Gods anointing for charismatic spontaneity became secondary
to teaching and dogma. To have a recognized ministry required one to become an
ordained, full-time clergyman. Anointed body ministry was thereby crippled,
and man began to control what took place in church meetings.13
God makes no clergy - laity distinction among His people in the New Testament.
He desires every member of His royal priesthood to hear His voice and be released to
function in the gatherings. Along this line, there is a proper way for us to minister in the
assembly. Everything we do must come from a humble heart that eagerly says, Please
adjust me where and when I need it.


This is not to imply that all believers will have the same degree of anointing or sensitivity in determining
the specific songs as well as the timing they are to be sung in a meeting. Obviously, some are called to be
psalmists (worshipping musicians) who will have a greater degree of visibility in setting direction during
corporate worship.
Dale Rumble, And Then The End Shall Come, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 1991), p.

...the wisdom from above to reason.... (Jas. 3:17 The Jewish New
We must not pray, preach, prophesy, lead out in a song or exercise any public
ministry in the congregation unless we are willing to be fine tuned in what we do. As a
matter of fact, it would be helpful to go to those in oversight of the local church and
communicate our desire for exactly this type of input. A greater degree of liberty
necessitates a greater degree of accountability.
For too long, some have thought that teaching the saints only occurs in a
classroom setting. Training involves much more than that. We must come alongside those
we serve and bring our perspective concerning their activity among the people.
(Brother, I thought what you shared had some real life in it. I think, though, that the last
half came more from your own zeal to see the church change than from the Lords
Elders must be men of discernment who do not move in a know it all attitude,
but who really love the saints - if they would truly be effective in helping them move
accurately in the realm of the Spirit. Encouragement is a vital ingredient in this process.
The gathering of the local church, whether it be a large meeting or a smaller
home meeting, is to be more a spiritual gymnasium than a showcase. A gym is marked by
practice, trial and error. It is not where people come to see a perfected process, but rather
a process perfected. The whole idea of a practice session in a gym is that mistakes will be
made. Thats why there are folks assisting those working out with the barbells as well as
spotters watching over others on the trampoline, and so forth. The gym is a place of
Similarly, mistakes will be made when the saints gather. That does not necessarily
imply disorder; it could simply reflect immaturity. There is a significant difference.
Gods order is revealed more in a meeting where a young Christian rambles on too long
in a prophecy while older ones exercise patience and mercy, than in a meeting where
nothing unseemly happens, but freedom is stifled. Let us not evaluate the condition of
the Church by looking simply at externals. Divine order among a gathering of young
Christians will not look the same as it does among those more mature at moving in the
Spirit. God requires more of those who have walked with Him longer.
Lord, teach us Your ways and establish us as a corporate expression of Yourself,
of what is in Your heart. You are the Word of God. Bring forth that which reveals the
heart of the Father. Teach us not to simply build our interpretations of what You are
saying. In Jesus name. Amen.

Apostles, Elders
And the Local Church

Who is the Greatest?

Too often, the pastors, teachers and leaders of worship all stand out in our
assemblies while Jesus is not always so evident. It is easy for the saints to focus on
ministries rather than the Lord when our meetings are professionally run. God is
dealing with us to give His Son the preeminence in all that we do. How few speak in this
...neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the
increase. (1Cor. 3:7)
All too frequently, men imply how much they are needed, not how insignificant
they are. It is so easy to create an impression in others of how indispensable we are even
as we minister in His name. This weakness in our humanity speaks loudly of insecurity
and pride.
For when one says, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are you not
mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you
believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. (1Cor. 3:4, 5 NASB)
If the Lord had not given opportunity, none of these men (or any of us) would
have been saved. The Church is the result of God giving men the opportunity to believe
the gospel. And the gospel is preached because God gives men the opportunity to share
what He has done in their lives. The Church is the result of a divine set-up; we are in
Christ by His design. If God had not created the situations where truth was proclaimed
and received, there would be no churches. This perspective of God is key to ministering
wisely in His house. Without it, we are prone to elevate men in an ungodly way.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. (1Cor. 3:6)
Notice Pauls emphasis on Gods operative grace among His people. Men can
plant and water, but without the miracle of life within the seed, there would be no growth.
If one plants rocks in the soil, what can one hope to harvest? The best programs to

evangelize and train men in the Church are useless apart from His life. The maturation
process is miraculous, both individually and corporately. The life of God can never be
reduced to a method. While principles may apply in training others, in the end God will
be glorified for what He has done in their lives.
Some point to church planting as the most important element of church growth.
There would not even be a local church here if it were not for that mans ministry, they
say. Why, he broke the ground! He rooted out the weeds and planted seed when there
was no local church at all. Obviously he is the most important one. He is the father of
the work.
Others point to the one who waters. If he had not come along when he did, the
church would have withered long ago. When he brought the water of life, there was a
great blossoming! Fruitfulness and fragrance abounded after his input. Obviously, he is
the most important.
What do the Scriptures say?
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives
the increase. (1Cor. 3:7)
If we read this in a slightly different way without changing the meaning, it could
say, both he who plants and he who waters are nothing.
We have allowed man to occupy too important a place in our thinking. As a
result, the preeminence of Jesus has been undermined. Two significant problems we face
in the Church today are both the insecurity of prominent men and the prominence of
insecure men.
Apostles and Elders
The apostolic foundation of local churches facilitates the headship of Christ,
because it involves a collegial group of elders who oversee the work.
So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they
commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:23)
Notice, Paul did not remain and function as an arch-elder; he commended them
to the Lord. Jesus is the head of each local church. Apostles do not hold a hierarchical
position of authority over the churches as a mediator between them and God. Their desire
is to see local churches founded on Jesus Christ and overseen by a group of elders. Then
they can move into new territory in order to see new fellowships of believers established.
If they decide to settle down for a season in a local church, they must become a
functioning accountable member of the eldership there. The only place in Scripture where

we see apostles recognized as a distinct group among the elders is the church at
So the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. (Acts 15:6)
Of course, Jerusalem was a unique church. This was the only place on earth where
you had the twelve apostles of the Lamb as part of the leadership! It is probable that the
presence of such well-known men brought its own unique problems. I am sure the
tendency to elevate them in an inordinate way was quite strong. Consider the following
One result of fearing man is to develop an unhealthy elevation of leaders. The
teachers of mixture who came among the Galatians probably had this attitude
toward the apostles in Jerusalem. In his letter, Paul takes time to underscore the
humanity of those apostles. Why did he do this? Obviously, he was endeavoring
to undo something that had been imparted to the Galatians. Paul was not
maliciously exposing sin but underscoring their humanity as he brought them
down a few notches in the eyes of the Galatians.
But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference
to me; God shows no partiality) - well, those who were of reputation contributed
nothing to me. (Gal. 2:6 NASB)
The men of reputation here included Peter, James and John (Gal. 2:7-9).
Paul also recounts an incident where Peter stumbled much like the Galatians
were now doing (Gal. 2:11 - 14).
When men are elevated in an unhealthy way, God will see to it that they are
brought down a few notches in our eyes. This is a fearful thing. However, it is a
safeguard both for the church and for those in leadership.14
True apostles in our day will not see themselves as greater than others; they will
consider others more important than themselves (Phil. 2:3; Rom. 12:10).
Honoring Jesus as the Head
When a group of men stand together as elders under the headship of Jesus, the
inherent diversity in leadership provides for a more complete servanthood oversight. The
elders have the protection of peer-level relationships; good shepherding care can be more
consistent and effective when there is a team of men sharing responsibility.


Donald Rumble, Winds of Change, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 1986), p. 47

The apostolic man who laid the foundation for the local church must not interfere
with the headship of Jesus by functioning as a second head to the work. There is only
one head of any expression of Christs body: Jesus.
Some have said that the gifts of the Holy Spirit operative in the Church are to
express the body of Christ, while the leaders (the five-fold ministry, the apostles, etc.) are
to reveal the headship of Christ. Such thinking is dangerous. Instead of leaders seeing
themselves as simply part of Christs body with distinct giftings and responsibilities, they
begin to see themselves as uniquely joined to the Head. The basis for clergy - laity
distinction is established.
The truth is, leaders are part of the Body of Christ like everybody else. Their role
is to oversee the people as each individual member hears His voice. Of course it is clear
that God will speak through the elders to the church. But it is also true that He will speak
through the church to them. We must honor the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
God has sent Him to reveal the headship of Christ among His people.
When the Lord speaks, even if it is through the youngest member of the
fellowship, all must submit to Him. We do not simply submit to a man who holds a
certain position in our midst (even if he is an apostle). However, when the Lord anoints
him to address us - which will occur frequently because of the nature of his calling - then
the headship of Christ is being revealed. When there is a proper understanding of the
Holy Spirits central role in revealing Jesus to His people, a spirit of control has no
ground from which to operate in our midst. Elders will then move in an authority that
reflects servanthood.
After laying the foundation at Corinth, Paul did not commend the church there to
the ministry team of elders as those representing the Head; he entrusted them to Christ.
Some have said that the overseers of the local church are the head of that group as
a husband is head of his wife. Thus, as the wife is to submit to her husband, so the church
is to submit to the local eldership. However, for any overseer(s) to take such a position is
to usurp the place that belongs only to the Lord Jesus, the One who gave His life for His
Scripture teaches that the husband - wife relationship reveals the union between
Christ and His Church, not the relationship between the elders and the church. The elders
are part of that church and must be as submissive to the headship of Christ as any other
member of the body.
For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one
husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2Cor. 11:2)
In light of this, it is also important to remember that Gods will is for the flock to
give proper honor and recognition to those who walk before them as examples.

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over
you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for
their works sake. Be at peace among yourselves. (1Thess. 5:12, 13)
Obey (lit. be persuaded by) your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep
watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with
joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (Heb. 13:17 NASB)
God requires elders in His Church to be faithful men. They are called to stand
before His people as examples of holiness, faithfulness and commitment to Christ. When
believers slack off in their passion for the Lord, those in oversight will be stirred to
intercede for them. They will speak out of their own times of intimacy with the Lord as
they seek to inspire the saints toward greater love and obedience to Him. When they see
and hear believers in their care misrepresenting Christ, they will seek Him concerning
whether or not to admonish them and, if so, how to go about it.
In all such ministry, they must accurately represent Gods heart and not their own
frustration, impatience or anger. Ultimately, God will hold them responsible as those who
must give account. Their accountability primarily will have to do with how obediently
they responded to the grace of God in their lives to express His heart to His people.
Believers should honor those called to this task and make it easy for them to come with
instruction and admonition from the Lord. Such a heart in the people makes an elders
task a joyful and not a grievous one.
On the other hand, if an elder is not open to a corrective word from even the
youngest saint in the gathering, how is he an example for the very type of behavior he
expects from the people? All of us must be open to the Lords word no matter who it
comes through. However, elders will have grace in their lives to care for the flock from a
perspective of oversight. In other words, they will carry something of Gods heart for the
whole group and not for just a few of the members.
The overseers of the church in every locality should consist of a collegial band of
men called as elders from that area. These men cannot be independent; they must see
their need for one another, come together in friendship, and commit themselves to serve
in oversight of Gods house under His presiding Shepherd (senior Pastor), the Lord Jesus
...and when the Chief Shepherd (Grk. ARCHIPOIMEN) appears, you will receive
the crown of glory that does not fade away. (1Pet. 5:4)
If apostolic men retain an official governmental status to the churches they
father, they will undermine the collegial overseers of the assemblies. Local elders in a
fellowship should seek to stand together with the leader(s) of other local churches in the
area, thus forming the body of men responsible for Gods house there. An apostolic man
who has fathered a local church will always have a special relationship with the believers.
But the authority he has in their midst will not be official in nature; rather, it will reflect

family relationship. His words will carry weight because of his proven love for those
saints. They will know he has not gathered them unto himself to become part of his group
of churches; he has built them upon Christ.
Apostolic men from different geographic locations who relate to various
fellowships in a particular area should encourage and promote unity between those local
churches. When apostolic men do not do this, there will be a continuation of the same
divisions that existed before they first arrived. How then have they contributed to
building the house of God?
Men who build something other than Gods house (a sect, a movement, a
"stream") are not functioning as master builders. A master builder is concerned with
Gods one house, and he knows that the correct pattern to build by will only be fully
revealed in each locale as each member is built upon Jesus Christ as the foundation. He
will completely give himself to the task of keeping the Lord Jesus central both in his own
ministry and in the churches he serves. Finally, he will ensure that nothing in his own
heart or building methods undermines Gods work of uniting His people in the Spirit.
Lord, move in our day to cause all the streams and movements of Your people
to begin to see beyond the river banks of our particular brand of Christianity. Center us
in Your Son, gather us into Your presence and reveal Your glory both in and through us
for Jesus sake. Amen.

And Stewards

Exalting Men
The church at Corinth was in trouble. They were exhibiting division in their midst
instead of expressing the oneness of God. Some said they were of Paul, others were of
Apollos, Peter, and so forth. They were clearly elevating men in an unhealthy way.
Whenever we exalt anyone, whether it be ourself or some gifted church leader, we
pave the way for jealousy, strife and ambition. Divine order is not necessarily displayed
in a group just because everything runs smoothly. If jealousy and ambition are in the
hearts of those ministering, the assembly is out of order. James had something to say
along this line.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil
thing. (Jas. 3:16 NASB)
At first glance, it might appear that James exaggerated. Jealousy and ambition are
a couple of evil things, not every evil thing. However, it is a fact that all the problems in
the universe began when Satan jealously rose up to seize Gods throne. From that act has
come every evil thing in creation. This spirit must be rooted out of the Church.
Building Wisely
Paul sought to build the Lords house with wisdom; he longed to see the headship
of Christ implemented among Gods people. This was why he emphasized so forcefully
to the Corinthians that apostolic planters and waterers of churches are not the ones who
make the Church grow. God gives the increase (1Cor. 3:4 - 7). He had laid an apostolic
foundation in their midst and now others were building upon it. But, he said,
...let each one take heed how he builds on it. (1Cor. 3:10)

Some were building wisely, with gold and precious stones. Others were building
with wood and straw. A day of fire was coming and God would test the quality of every
mans work (1Cor. 3:12, 13).
Then the apostle described three kinds of people.
1. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward (1Cor.
3:14). These individuals built with gold for permanence and were destined for a prize.
Gold, silver and precious stones are rare. They must be sought and then dug from
the depths. Today the Lord is calling us to plumb the depths of His person and purpose.
The wealth of the Kingdom will not be found in quickie times of relationship with Him
where we fit Him into our schedule. Instead, we must center our lives around Him. Such
a lifestyle will endure the fire of His testings.
2. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as
through fire (1Cor. 3:15). These were superficial. They built with wood (whatever was
laying on the surface).
Today there is so much available to the Christian in the form of books, tapes and
teaching materials that it is possible to know a great deal and yet be very shallow in our
relationship with the Lord. Then, when the inevitable fire of testing comes, though the
believer retains his salvation, he finds that much of what he has invested himself in has
been consumed. We must learn this lesson well. These present testings are only a prelude
to a day of fire coming upon all who dwell on the earth. God is preparing us now for that
3. This third group sought to destroy Gods house (1Cor. 3:16, 17). They exalted men,
followed after them, and encouraged others to do the same. This was to the detriment of
the preeminence of the Lord among His people, and Paul minced no words concerning
such activity.
If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of
God is holy, and that is what you are. (1Cor. 3:17 NASB)
The word destroy could be translated to corrupt or to wither. Whenever a
group (or individual) builds in a sectarian way, exalting themselves, their leader(s) or
their doctrine, God will send the judgment of a corrupting influence into their midst, and
they will begin to dry up. Mixture will grow in their theology, and dry doctrine will
replace the water of life. Today, the spiritual landscape is littered with clear testimony to
the accuracy of Pauls warning. Ecumenism is an insufficient response to the problem of
the divided Church. We must repent for exalting men, doctrines and methods of Church
growth above Christ.

At the root of such error and division is the sin of pride. God has made very clear
the way of escape for any who want out of the present predicament.
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let
him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is
foolishness with God. For it is written, He catches the wise in their own
craftiness; and again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are
futile. (1Cor. 3:18 - 20)
Very simply, we must repent for thinking we have been so wise in what we have
built. This is especially so for those who hold to restoration theology.15 The more one
knows, the more susceptible he is to pride (1Cor. 8:1). If we do not humble ourselves
before the Lord, we will not even notice as He tearfully slips out the door, His precious
presence displaced by Ichabod...the glory is departed (1Sam. 4:21).
Then Paul reiterates his main point.
Therefore let no one glory in men. (1Cor. 3:21)
He goes on to say that all these ministries belonged to the believers and they
belonged to Christ and Christ belonged to God (1Cor. 3:21 - 23). However, Paul did want
them to understand the proper way to relate to the apostles.
Let a man so consider us, as servants (Gr. HUPERETES) of Christ and stewards
of the mysteries of God. (1Cor. 4:1)
The above word translated as servants (HUPERETES) could be translated as
under- rowers. The picture that comes to mind is that of a Roman warship powered by
many slaves manning the oars. At the end of the ship was someone in authority who kept
them all rowing in unison by beating out a rhythm on a drum. Individual slaves did not
just row where or when they felt like it. They had to move in harmony with the one
setting the pace.
Apostles are under-rowers of Christ. He sets the pace and direction for His ship.
They do not have their own agenda, program and plan for local church growth. They are
concerned only with moving in unison with Him and the other foundational ministries
serving the Church.

Restoration theology holds that, over the years, the early Church fell into decline in various ways, and
God is in the process of restoring her to the apostolic and prophetic simplicity of devotion to Christ. This
involves the restoration of the five-fold ministries listed in Ephesians 4, the gifts of the Spirit, proper
understanding of church government, etc., but primarily involves the restoration of Jesus to His central role
in the corporate life of the Church.

Stewards of Gods Mysteries

The second thing Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:1 concerning the apostles is that
they are stewards of the mysteries of God. Stewardship indicates the responsibility to care
for anothers possessions. While God reveals Himself to everyone in the Church, some
are called to a unique responsibility of oversight.
It is true that He will come and unveil His presence to all who love Him. This is
the basis for body ministry. Jesus will reveal mysteries of His kingdom to all who are
humble in heart (Mt. 11:25). However, the apostles (and certainly other overseers as well)
bear responsibility to make certain that the purity of Gods truth is preserved as believers
share what they perceive God is saying.
The Church today needs the apostolic impartation of Christ. The Lord must raise
up in our day apostles who will be faithful to disclose the foundation of Jesus Christ and
His purpose. Afterwards, what is shared in local assemblies must be in harmony with that
When Paul established the church at Corinth, he laid out clear apostolic directives
concerning how the church was to function.
Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the
traditions as I delivered them to you. (1Cor. 11:2)
Elders did not simply teach whatever seemed good to them. It had to line up with
the apostolic substructure that had been laid at the beginning of their Christian
For a bishop (overseer NASB) must be blameless, as a steward of God...holding
fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound
doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. (Tit. 1:7, 9)
Today, what is taught and ministered in local churches must come into harmony
with the heart and purpose of God as He again raises up apostolic ministries to serve His
Church. Achieving this will be difficult because of the Churchs confusion concerning
what real apostles look like. Lord, give us true apostles in our day - men who long for
Your preeminence and who will give their lives to see it implemented.
It is true that fathering a church (laying the foundation for a new church) is an
apostolic function. However, this does not mean that all who have fathered churches are
apostles. Just as one may prophesy a great deal and yet not be a prophet, so one may start
a church without being an apostle. Similarly, one may have pastoral input into the lives of
people without being a pastor. Every church should have pastoral, prophetic, evangelistic,

apostolic and teaching qualities imparted to her through the gift ministries listed in the
fourth chapter of Ephesians. Many will prophesy in the church, but only a few will be
prophets. The same holds true for apostles. A man is not necessarily an apostle because
he has done some apostolic activity.
Just look across the spiritual landscape in our generation. It can be observed that
evangelists, pastors and teachers have fathered churches. Some have concluded that such
men must therefore be apostles. It is not necessarily so.
The Mystery of Christ
Apostles and prophets have unique ministries with unique characteristics. One
main distinctive feature is their insight into the mystery of Gods Son. Notice Pauls
words to the church at Ephesus.
...when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which
in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been
revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit. (Eph. 3:4, 5 NASB)
God revealed the mystery of Christ to apostles and prophets. It is interesting to
note that this scripture in Ephesians does not refer to pastors, teachers or evangelists. Of
course, that does not depreciate the importance of these ministries or the fact that they
have God-given insights, but we must appreciate the importance of apostolic and
prophetic ministries if we are to grasp the mystery of Christ.
Much has already been written concerning the ministries of pastor, teacher and
evangelist - which are of great significance in the Church. Clearly though, God must
bring forth apostles and prophets if the Church is to be restored to the simplicity, purity
and power recorded in the book of Acts. There are dimensions in the mystery of Christ
that will not be understood without them!
Some have said that because the mystery was revealed to Paul and he wrote it out
for us in the Scriptures, we have no need for apostles today. Notice, though, that Paul did
not say he understood the whole mystery. He said he had an insight. The mystery was
revealed to apostles (plural) and prophets (plural).
Notice also that Paul did not say that the mystery of Christ was only revealed to
those apostles who wrote the inerrant Scripture. Paul needed Apollos, Agabus, Silas and
Barnabas and their insights concerning the mystery of Christ. The early Church needed
all these men and others as well for the revelation of Christ to be more fully made known
in their midst.
Some would say that because the full revelation of Christ was given to those who
wrote the Bible, no further revelation of the Son is available to the Church in our day. We

can only gain illumination of the full revelation that they received. This thought is stated
to undergird the truth that the canon of Scripture is now closed (i.e., no new books are to
be added to the Bible).
While it is true that the canon is closed, the idea that God has nothing further to
reveal concerning His Son than what is recorded in the Scripture is questionable. Simply
stated, God is bigger than the book He wrote! The Bible itself states that it gives but a
partial picture of Jesus earthly ministry.
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written
one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that
would be written. Amen. (Jn. 21:25)
If the Bible contains only limited content concerning Jesus earthly life, how
much more is it true that the Scriptures give only a partial (though inerrant) picture of
God in His eternal habitation?! God has much to reveal about Himself through dreams,
visions, prophetic insights, etc. All these further revelations must line up with Scripture
(God will never contradict Himself); and they will be imperfect, for we know and
prophesy in part. Therefore, they are not on the same plane as the Bible. However, they
are a necessary part of our arsenal to help us grow up spiritually and overcome the
enemys attacks.
This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously
made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare. (1Tim. 1:18)
Personal prophetic ministry is biblical, and it does bring further revelation
concerning God and His purpose for our lives. Jesus did not say that His leaving was to
our advantage so that He could then send us the Bible, but so that He could send us the
Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:7)16 God has sent His Spirit for the express purpose of revealing His
Son in the earth.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;
for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak;
and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what
is Mine and declare it to you. (Jn. 16:13, 14)
We must have the spoken prophetic word as well as the inerrant written word if
we would know the Son as God intends.
Some people, out of fear of deception, have found safety solely in the Scriptures,
to the neglect of an intimate relationship with Christ. The Bible has become their fortress
of defense against the many confusing winds of doctrine blowing across the land. Yet the
Bible itself tells us that God Himself is to be our refuge and stronghold (Ps. 46:1; 62:6 16

See page 126 of The World Aflame: The Welsh Revival And Its Lessons For Our Time (Charlotte, NC:
MorningStar Publications), copyright 1993 by Rick Joyner.

8). While the Bible is indeed an essential tool for knowing Him, it must not become a
substitute for a living experiential relationship with the One who wrote it!
Suppose God spoke a clear prophetic word concerning what His intentions are for
America over the next twenty years. Such a word would have to be evaluated through
prayer, diligent study of the Scripture and confirmation through other prophets in the
Church. But we must not close our minds to such an interaction with the Lord simply
because of a fear that we might be led astray.
Our safety is not found solely in the fact that we have the Bible with which to
appraise our subjective spiritual experiences. We also have the indwelling Holy Spirit
who was given to lead us into all truth. Our confidence is not only in the Scriptures, but
in the One who wrote them and who now lives in our hearts!
Today, we must have restored to the Church foundational men who have anointed
insight into the person of Christ. There are some today who insist that the foundation of
apostles and prophets was laid through the writing of both the Old and New Testaments.
Since the Old Testament was written primarily by prophets and the New Testament by
apostles, we now have no more need for these ministries. Again, notice that Paul said that
God has now revealed the mystery of Christ to His holy apostles and prophets. He is
referring to New Testament prophets. Men like Agabus, Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32;
21:10) contributed in a foundational way as they unveiled insights into the person of
Jesus in the midst of the congregations.
This type of activity must now occur as well in our day when believers gather
together desiring to live in harmony with the biblical accounts of normal Christianity. If
God is restoring prophets to the Church, what do they look like? How do they function in
the church? And what exactly is a prophet? In the next chapters we will look at these
Lord, bring forth a great company of apostles and prophets in these days. Unveil
to us the mystery of Christ in dynamic brilliant glory. In Jesus name. Amen!

A Look at
the Prophets

A Costly Calling
The word PROPHET is the English transliteration of the Greek word
PROPHETES. It basically means one who speaks on behalf of another. To be a prophet
of God is to be His personal spokesman.
As we shall see, God requires more from His spokesmen than simply conveying
His words. The prophets ministry has to do with proclaiming His heart. What He is
feeling and experiencing must be revealed. Therefore, He must bring those called to
represent Him as prophets into harmony with His holy character. His priority is that all
who minister in His name would be like Him. When there is a lack of conformity to His
likeness, even accurate words will not only fall short of revealing Him in the way He
desires, they may even misrepresent Him. This is no light matter.
It is an awesome privilege to bear the word of the Lord. Therefore, Gods
spokesmen must have their lives and messages integrated. History reveals that He often
speaks as much through ones actions as He does through ones words. It is probably
safe to say that the prophets life is the major part of the message he is sent to convey.
God is revealed in a holy life.
When we consider the prophets in Scripture, one thing becomes clear. These men
paid great prices for the burdens they carried. Hosea knew the unfaithfulness of his wife
so that he might understand Gods heart concerning Israels unfaithfulness to Him.
Ezekiel saw his wife die and was forbidden by the Lord to mourn in order that he might
be a sign to the people. Jeremiah was rejected by his own home town and became the
object of an assassination plot. The words these men brought from the Lord were
expensive beyond human capacity to bear apart from grace.
Prophets saw their whole lives altered that they might become fit vessels to reveal
Gods heart. Truly the prophets ministry and the bearing of the heart of God cannot be
confused with simply having the gift of prophecy or the word of knowledge.

Today we see many bringing prophetic words to the local church, receiving words
of knowledge and ministering personal words of prophecy for individuals as well. Such
ministry can be a great blessing to Gods people. Clearly though, the function of a
prophet, while incorporating these, will embody a great deal more.
While there have been many attempts to stereotype the prophets ministry, the
Scriptures reveal that they are as diverse a bunch of folks as any other group in Gods
kingdom. Elijah did many signs and wonders; John the Baptist did none. Isaiah
prophesied in the kings court; Ezekiel was sent to the captives in Babylon. Jeremiah, a
prophet to the nations, stayed home; Jonah, a prophet to Israel, was sent to a foreign city.
The majority of king Davids prophetic ministry found expression in song; Daniel
seemed to articulate his prophetic words to the people of God only through writing.
Moses commanded the people to destroy their enemies and take the promised land;
Jeremiah counseled them to submit to Babylon and walk away from the land. Each
prophet was unique and made a distinct contribution to the outworking of Gods purpose
on earth.
While prophets are unique, they will also have much in common. Their calling is
to come into Gods presence and receive His burden for His people. Their concern is
primarily that the person and word of God be revealed in the Church. They are grieved
and stirred to speak up when they see the Lords people satisfied without the manifest
presence of God in their midst, settling for ritual or traditional ruts. The prophetic
burden on their hearts leads them to upset the status quo.
Consider the prophet Amos as he confronted the religious system of his day:
I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept
them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the
noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.
But let justice run down like water.... (Amos 5:21 - 24)
This is a clear call to stop playing games and to begin bearing fruit for God. Only
a deep hunger for Gods manifest presence can bring true fruitfulness.
He who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit.... (Jn. 15:5)
Prophets can seem a threat to those who are prone to systemize and program
church life. Human tendency is to organize rather than allow the Lord to direct His
people. The prophetic ministry is needed to keep churches from reflecting its leaders
more than Jesus.
Whenever a group begins to resemble an organization more than an organism, the
trumpets call of a prophets warning should sound. Where is the Spirit of God in all
this? At that point either the prophet will be silenced and the system preserved, or the

prophet will be heard and change will take place. Unfortunately, it is sometimes easier to
get rid of prophets than to change.
Interpreting Prophecy
One mark of prophets is that they often just do not fit much of the religious world.
Perhaps it is because of the unique grace of God on their lives that they are not able to fit.
When God called a man in Scripture to be a prophet, it was to more than simply a
ministry of bringing words to people. It was to a life of both intimacy with the Lord and
persecution from those who were comfortable with their own religious life.
Prophets brought the imminence of God to His people. When a prophet spoke, the
Lord could no longer be thought of as far off. His burden could no longer be relegated to
another time or to another people. Men were brought face to face with issues through the
power of God and could not ignore them. To reject the prophet was to reject the One who
had sent him.
It is precisely because of this anointing to bring the immediacy of God and His
purpose to the people that prophets can miss His timing concerning the very events they
foresee. Unless a prophet has a clear word from God concerning exact dates (Jer. 25:11,
12), he must guard his words very carefully. Often the clearer a prophet sees something
in the Spirit, the sooner he might tend to think it will come to pass. He can often be
wrong in this.
The prophets in Scripture were not so much concerned with predicting exact dates
and times. They were to bring the immediacy of the future into the present and thereby
stir the people to respond to God in their circumstances. This would then prepare them
for the future.
As a matter of fact, sometimes God had His spokesmen communicate the
certainty of a coming event by speaking of it in the past tense (e.g., Is. 53). Hence, if they
were not careful, it would be easy for them to look to their past while God was in fact
pointing to the future. This is why prophets must differentiate between the word of the
Lord and their interpretation of that word (i.e., their thoughts regarding Gods intent
when He spoke, concerning what the fulfillment of the word will actually look like as
well as how it is to be properly applied, and what the correct response is both individually
and corporately, etc.).
It is not necessarily the prophets responsibility to interpret what he has
prophesied. If he does, he must distinguish between the word and his explanation of it.
His primary responsibility is to simply bring what God has shown or spoken to him as
accurately as possible (leaving nothing out; adding nothing to it).
knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,

for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they
were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2Pet. 1:20, 21)
The idea that the prophets interpretation of his own prophecy is of more value
than anyone elses is quite dangerous. He could bring a valid word that all agree is from
the Lord, but then introduce his own desires and theology into the picture and begin to
move the church in a wrong direction.
To elevate the speakers interpretation of Gods intent above what other men are
sensing is to move the prophet toward a place of unaccountability. While God gives the
task of evaluating both the content (Is it biblical? Is it from God or from the speakers
own thoughts?) and spirit (Does it reflect Gods heart or simply the prophesiers own
emotions?) of the prophets ministry to other prophets and spiritual men in the church
(1Cor. 14:29; 2:15), who is to determine how it is to be interpreted? God has given His
Holy Spirit to His Church for this very purpose. Each member must hear His voice.
Prophetically gifted believers and elders may summarize what they believe the Spirit is
speaking to His people. They may also sense a corporate direction for the fellowship to
take based on prophetic input. However, each individual must respond to Gods personal
application of His word to their life. There will be different emphases for each and
different responses from each. A directive word to the whole church must be evaluated
by the overseers (e.g., We need to respond to this. or Let us wait on God concerning
this. or We need further confirmation before we act on this.).
Of course, there will be times when the word will require an immediate response
from all present. One example of this would be a word from the Lord for all present to
humble themselves in His presence. Sometimes, the response of the hearers will be
affected by the way in which the prophesier delivers the word. It must come from a pure
heart filled with the Lords deep concern for those listening. A wrong motivation will
muddy the word and cause confusion, and perhaps even produce the opposite of Gods
original intent.
At this juncture it is important to recognize two distinct types of prophets.
Consider the following quote from one of the many recent books on prophetic ministry.
We have much to learn about the different types of prophets - some are seers
who prophesy according to visions, dreams or other revelation knowledge they
have received; others are what I would call the nabi prophet, from the Hebrew
word for prophet that means to bubble forth. A nabi prophet knows in part and
prophesies in part; most of the is like looking through a glass darkly
(1Cor. 13:9, 12).
The author goes on to say that he is a nabi type prophet.
I see the thoughts about to be expressed in words only microseconds before they
are spoken - just enough time to decide whether I have faith to speak it, whether I

am using the proper phrasing, and whether it would be wise to speak what I am
perceiving (1Cor. 14:32; Rom. 12:6).17
As we have said, the prophet must differentiate between Gods word and his
interpretation of it. God has sent His Holy Spirit to reveal to us how prophecy is to be
applied. This is true also in the case of a seers ministry. However, in his case, the correct
interpretation of what he has seen often is the word of the Lord. In other words, the seer
will see (thats why they are called seers) visions and dreams that are often highly
symbolic.18 At such times, what he views is not in itself the complete message. Rather, it
points to truth that God wants to reveal. John the apostle was a seer. The Lord said to
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, and, What you see, write
in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia.... Then I turned to
see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden
lampstands. (Rev. 1:11, 12)
The lampstands were not in themselves the message. They symbolized something
...and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. (Rev. 1:20)
When the Lord revealed to John what the lampstands represented, He was also
showing us an important lesson for understanding visions and dreams. We must turn to
Him and wait upon Him for the correct interpretation of what we have seen. What He
then speaks to us is the word of the Lord. If we then prophesy this word, we must be
careful to differentiate between what God has spoken and our interpretation of it (i.e., our
opinions concerning its fulfillment, Gods intent, its application, the churchs response,
While the elders are called to oversee the flock, they must honor the Lords
headship in the outworking of what He has spoken. We will only fully realize what the
final corporate picture looks like when we get there! It is important to understand that
God will have many surprises in store for the prophets as well as everyone else when
predictive words come to pass and the fulfillment does not look at all like any of us
Lord, bring to pass what You have seen from all eternity. Establish Your purpose.
Jesus, increase our capacity to see more clearly the difference between what was in Your
heart and our interpretation of what You meant when You spoke to us. In Jesus name.

Dr. Bill Hamon, Prophets And The Prophetic Movement, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers,
1990), pp. 74, 75
One example where a dream was not symbolic but quite straightforward in its meaning is when the angel
appeared to Joseph and warned him of Herods threats against the child Jesus (Mt. 2:13). See also Mt. 1:20
- 21; 2:19 - 21.

Laying Foundations

Prophets: A Foundational Ministry

Prophets lay foundations in building Gods house (Eph. 2:20). In other words,
they bring a revelation of Christ through their godly character as well as their
prophesying that not only encourages individuals in their relationships with the Lord but
in their love for their fellow believers as well. Lives are built together because of their
Prophecy is to edify the church (1Cor. 14:4). This word edify is OIKODOME in
Greek. It comes from two words, OIKOS - house and DOMEO - to build. Therefore,
prophets are to have the effect on the local church that construction workers have on an
unfinished house.
While all prophecy is to edify, prophets will do so in a foundational way. They
will impart the life of Christ through their ministry in such a manner that believers will be
strengthened to stand in the building and testing process of Gods house being
constructed. For example, they will have discernment to recognize when people are
beginning to lose heart and fall into apathy. Through their prophetic words they will put
courage into the hearts of the saints by pointing them to Gods presence and then calling
them to commitment - both to the person of the Lord and to the task He has put before
We see one Old Testament example of foundational prophetic ministry in the days
of Ezra. The Jews while seeking to construct the temple were experiencing opposition
from their enemies. As the antagonism increased, they began to lose heart and even began
to form a theology to support their inactivity.
Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: This people says, The time has not
come, the time that the Lords house should be built. (Hag. 1:2)
It can be so easy to develop doctrine justifying our present condition in the Lord. This is
one reason why prophets are often sent to challenge the status quo.

Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to
the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who
was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak
rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the
prophets of God were with them, helping them. (Ezra 5:1, 2)
Just as the Jews in Haggais day knew opposition, the New Testament Church
was under the legalistic onslaught of the circumcision party. According to these teachers,
Gentiles had to be circumcised in order to be saved. After this issue was recognized as
error and resolved at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15, two prophets were sent to the
church at Antioch.
Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted the brethren with
many words and strengthened them. (Acts 15:32)
As local churches go through traumatic times of testing, believers will be tempted
to lose heart. Prophets will bring strength and encouragement as they deliver the word of
the Lord - for they will stand in His presence, hear His burden and bring His perspective
to the situation.
Prophets, as part of their foundational calling, are watchmen in the city of God.
They are called to appraise the spiritual condition of Gods people (Jer. 6:27) and then to
blow the trumpet of warning to alert them concerning the consequences of their sinful
practices (Ezek. 3; Jer. 6:17).
There is a great need today for prophetic ministry to emerge and send forth a clear
trumpet sound that reflects Gods heart - instead of religious, legalistic or prideful heart
attitudes. Prophets must be broken, humble men. They cannot have religious agendas to
push. To the degree they sound forth their own legalistic bias, they cease to represent
Even when their observations of the people may be accurate, if God has not sent
them to speak concerning a particular issue, then they must hold their peace. Otherwise,
He will hold them accountable. At that point the focus of the Lord just might be on the
need for the prophets themselves to change! Perhaps their need is for patience or a greater
commitment to intercede for the people.
On the other hand, if God does send them and they speak in such a way that they
misrepresent Him (speaking from anger, competitiveness, personal frustration, etc.), He
will take it very seriously. Moses was kept from the promised land for this very reason
(Num. 20:1 - 12).

Prophets, while burdened about sin, must focus on grace, for grace is God's
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to
you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the
Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of
Christ and the glories to follow. (1Pet. 1:10, 11 NASB)
As the Old Testament prophets viewed the sinful condition of their society, God began to
include them into His burden concerning His solution. The Spirit of Christ within them
began to indicate great future glory based on the suffering of the Messiah. As they
prophesied, it became clear that Gods answer was grace! For example, Zechariah saw in
the Spirit a great mountain (an obstacle) standing before Zerubbabel and hindering him
from finishing the task of completing the temple. Whatever that obstacle was (It was
probably personal sin in the life of Joshua the high priest [Zech. 3]), he saw Gods
Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone (i.e., the finishing touches to Gods project)
with shouts of Grace, grace to it! (Zech. 4:7)
When the job was finished, all focus would be on the grace of God that enabled
men to cooperate with Gods purpose. This verse speaks to more than just the dilemma
facing Zerubbabel; it addresses the building of Gods house in our day. The finishing
touches to Gods glorious house will come amidst great celebration concerning the grace
of God! your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation
of Jesus Christ. (1Pet. 1:13)
Eternity will hold the same perspective. the ages to come He might show (display, NEB) the exceeding riches of His
grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:7)
If prophets are to contribute foundationally in building Gods house, they must be
deeply conscious of His grace - both of their own need for it and for the central role it
plays in forging a people of holiness. Such men will never be pharisaic legalists. They
will not focus on externals such as jewelry, dress, makeup and hairstyle. Their emphasis
will be the heart. They will exhibit a deep confidence in Gods ability to change His
people from the inside out.
Their words will penetrate through the religious smokescreens of those who know
how to play the game of looking holy but who are really far from the Lord. When they

speak, they will impart Gods power for people to turn from their ways and unto the
Lord, because they will minister His grace through their words (Eph. 4:29).
They will hate sin and will refuse to compromise Gods holy standards, but they
will also understand that law is no cure for the carnal nature. They will bring a dimension
of the glory of God into situations where answers are needed for they will understand
their call to convey far more than words.
They will recognize that the Lord Himself is the answer for what ails Gods house
and that He must be released through their ministry. Then seeing their own limited
success at imparting His life, they will cry out for the Lord to arise first in their own lives
and then as well in the hearts of the people.
Lord, raise up such men all across Your body! Reveal Yourself in ever greater
dimensions through the prophetic company You are bringing forth in this hour. In Jesus
name. Amen.

Prophets Servants in the Church

Prophetic Frustration
Prophets will intercede for those to whom they are sent. They will do so because
God will give them insight into both the present spiritual condition of His people as well
as His purpose for them.
Prophetic frustration occurs when the prophet catches a glimpse of Gods intent
and yet also recognizes how the people are presently settling for far less. Unless he is
given to intercession and a confidence in Gods ability to bring to pass what He has
purposed, he will become irritated at the people. Then if he is not careful, his words will
harass instead of encourage them. All who speak on behalf of the Lord must be careful to
convey His heart, not their own frustration.
...whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak. (Jn. 12:50)
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach,
patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will
grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth. (2Tim. 2:24, 25)
Prophetic frustration is widespread in the Body of Christ in our day. The problem
is that many prophetic people, having seen in many churches what the people are settling
for, have become discouraged and simply left their group to look for a better one.
Leaving is not always the best course. Sometimes God wants people to stay and
intercede for Him to birth His intent in that place. Since others in that group may not see
accurately what they see, who will cry out with insight on behalf of that assembly?
On the other hand, God may very well lead them out. Not all who have left
churches in a dissatisfied condition are rebels at heart. Many times people have left
fellowships carrying a very real prophetic burden and have simply not been quite sure
how to either explain it or to otherwise handle it redemptively.

The emerging prophetic company that God is raising up in our day needs to be
trained in its calling. As much as pastors or teachers might like to make prophets fit into
a ministerial mold where they look more pastoral or didactic, the Lords desire is far
different. God has called the prophet to a unique ministry with a unique perspective. The
contribution they are beginning to make and which they will continue to make to the
Body of Christ in the coming years will bring immeasurable blessing.
Understanding Gods Order
Today, one cause of concern to many prophets is the perception of many believers
concerning church order. While God has restored much truth in our day His intent is to
increase our capacity to better understand what was in His heart when He spoke. God
must break us out of the limitations we have imposed on ourselves by our interpretation
of His word.
Sometimes God will lead certain believers in directions that we just do not feel
comfortable with. Our check (i.e., our sense of internal discomfort) concerning
their course may come more from our commitment to a way of doing things than
from the Lord Himself. Idolatry of structure occurs when guidelines concerning
acceptable behavior and activity are drawn more from what has been built than from
God. We just don't do it that way here.
At issue is the fact that we have far more truth in our minds than we have reality
in our hearts. We simply fail many times to express the love of Christ for those who fall
short of what is obviously (to us) Gods will for them. The way in which things ought to
be done can become more important to us than the people themselves - those for whom
Jesus died!
Can we not see that divine order is more expressed among believers who love
God and are willing to die for each other than it is in an external form of acceptable
behavior? God is taking us beyond what we understand of His purpose. To do this He
must fill us with His Spirit and stretch our capacity for more of Him in our hearts. We
must learn to love as He loves, serve as He serves and judge as He judges.
If there is anything that causes prophetic frustration in the hearts of godly
prophets, it is this settling for a concept of normal church life that appears on the
surface to be biblical but at the heart carries the intolerance of the Pharisees.
Eventually, all prophetic people must learn to handle the tension between what
they see in the Spirit as Gods intent versus the present real condition of His people. How
they manage the resulting internal pressure will indicate to what degree they will make a
significant contribution to Gods objectives in their locale. They must have hearts of
bondservants and come on board with the rest of the people as the journey is made
toward the fulfillment of Gods purpose.

Remember, it takes patience as well as faith to inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12).
Just because they may see something in the Spirit concerning His goal does not mean that
they are any closer to it than anyone else. As a matter of fact, there have been many saints
over the years who may not have had a very clear vision of Gods ultimate corporate
purpose who yet lived exemplary, holy and humble lives. Prophetic insight comes by
grace; it is not a mark of spiritual greatness. Humility is always the true mark of spiritual
maturity in Gods sight.
Spiritual Gifts and Relationship
The goal before us is not that we all become prophets; it is that we become
spiritually mature. Prophets are few in number when considered in the context of the
whole Body of Christ. To pursue a prophets call would only bring frustration if God has
called us to serve in a different capacity.
On the other hand, all of us are called to be spiritual. We are to be men and
women of the Spirit. We are to be filled with His presence, hearing His voice, walking in
harmony with His character and heeding His message concerning the preeminence of His
Son. This is what it means to be friends of God.
There are basically two ways of gaining insight in the Spirit. God will show us
something based either on our spiritual gifts or our relationship with Him. These are not
the same thing. Deception occurs when I hear Him through my particular gift and then
conclude that I must be walking in close friendship with Him.
For example, a teacher may conclude that he is walking with God as he ought
because the Lord reveals truth to him in the Scriptures. However, such an assumption
may be dangerous. The same holds true for prophets. Those called to this ministry will
hear His voice and have discernment in the Spirit by the very nature of their gifting. Such
insight does not necessarily mean that they are yet spiritually mature or even that they are
walking in obedience to the Lord.
Paul recognized two types of people in the church at Corinth that would have
spiritual perception concerning both the problems there as well as his response to them.
If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet (PROPHETES) or spiritual
(PNEUMATIKOS), let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are
the commandments of the Lord. (1 Cor. 14:37)
Both true prophets and truly spiritual men and women would hear Gods voice in
what Paul was saying.

One purpose the apostle had in writing this particular section of his letter
concerned specifically how prophets were to function in the assembly. He laid out clear
guidelines. Two or three prophets could speak in a meeting and the others were to
evaluate both their spirits (heart attitudes) and words. The spirits of the prophets were to
be subject to the prophets.
In our day, local elderships must learn to honor the function of the prophets in the
church so that what takes place in meetings will accurately reveal the mind of Christ.
While prophets will have unique perception concerning other prophets, it is important to
remember that, he who is spiritual appraises all things... 1Cor. 2:15 NASB.
In other words, while prophets will have a unique function of insight concerning
other prophets as well as the direction and purpose of meetings, this does not do away
with the function of the elders. For example, there is the issue of timing. Sometimes two
prophets may sense almost opposite directions for a particular gathering. At that point it
seems there are conflicting cross-currents in the Spirit.
This is why we need the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation operative in our midst.
Such wisdom may be found in any believer in the assembly, for all have received Christ
who is our wisdom. However, the elders will bear responsibility for making the final
decision concerning which way to go; they are the overseers. During such times of
seeming contradiction, the Lord may have the church first respond in one direction. This
may then lead to a focus on the second path either later in that particular meeting or
perhaps the next time the saints gather.
Along with timing, there is also the issue of content. Sometimes a prophet may
simply err and confuse his own thoughts with the word of the Lord. Prophets must be
evaluated in this regard just like any other member of the Body of Christ who speaks in a
public manner.
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. (1Cor. 14:29)
Also, a prophet must not dominate a meeting but make room for the Lord to speak
through others.
But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. (1Cor.
14: 29, 30)
While a man may be accurate in his spiritual perceptions because of a prophetic
calling on his life, he may not yet be ready for eldership. Biblical qualifications for
eldership always emphasize character over gifting. It is the elders (These should be
spiritual men!) who bear responsibility to oversee the functioning of the body, including
the prophets. Of course, having mature prophets in the eldership will bring great strength
to that team of men.

The Church - Apostolic and Prophetic

Prophets do not approach the building process as apostles do. They are concerned
primarily with the heart of God. They do not speak because something needs to be said
but because God has spoken and released them to declare it. When they view the church,
they are not concerned primarily with doctrinal orthodoxy but with how the people as a
corporate expression of Christ reflect or fail to reflect Gods heart. Proper doctrine is
irrelevant if the peoples affections are misdirected from the Lord.
Jesus is not returning for a bride with a full head and an empty heart! It is passion for
us that brought Him the first time and it will be passion for us that will bring Him
again. Our hearts must reflect that same yearning for Him or we will fail to
comprehend our calling to be His bride. We must return to our first love, longing for
intimacy with Him. In whatever ways we have grown cold, we must repent and turn
again to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
The Church is to be an apostolic and prophetic company. Today God is restoring
apostles and prophets that we may be established in this truth. Through their ministry
graces, local gatherings will become accurate corporate representations of the Lord Jesus.
As a result, the universal Church will become a corporate expression of Christ in the
earth. Building methods and heart attitudes that undermine rather than unite God's people
under the headship of Christ must be set aside. Each step in this process will be painful
for traditional ministry, but we will all ultimately understand the wisdom of God when
we see His glory filling His house.
Lord, give us prophets who are willing to be patient with the rest of the Body. And
help Your Body to be patient as these who are Your gifts to Your Church learn how to
walk in their calling. And bring us together into the fullness of Your purpose. Lord, build
Your house in this hour and fill it with Your presence. Bring together all the diverse parts
and help us to serve one another for Your glory and purpose. In Jesus Name. Amen.

to the Pattern?

The Superiority of Christ

The book of Hebrews was written to address the problem of Jewish believers
looking back to the Old Covenant as a basis for right standing before God. Many were
going back under the Law. The writer confronts this by articulating the superiority of
Christ over the Law and the prophets.
Whereas in the past, God spoke in a partial manner in many ways through the
prophets, in these last days He has spoken in full measure to us in His Son (Hebrews 1:1).
Jesus is the fullest expression of the heart and purpose of God. He is the exact
representation of the Fathers nature. He holds all creation together by His word and He
presently rules while seated at the Fathers right hand (1:2, 3). All angels are inferior to
Him (1:4 - 2:18). Moses, a hero in Israels history, was but a servant; Christ is Gods Son
(3:1 - 6).
There simply is no comparison between that which is created and the One who
was begotten from the Father. Jesus is the One we have been baptized into; we find our
life in Him. Therefore, let us not go astray in our hearts as the Israelites did. They saw
His miracles but failed to learn His ways. They hardened their hearts and, as a result, that
generation failed to enter the promised land. Today we can make the same mistake. We
can hear His word and yet not have it profit us if it is not united with faith in us. Thus, we
will fail both to cease from our own labors and to enter our promised land (i.e., Gods
rest; 3:7 - 4:6).
Entering His Rest
Under the Old Covenant the Sabbath day was consecrated unto the Lord. In the
New Covenant He also sanctifies a special day,
...saying in David, Today, after such a long time, as it has been said: Today, if
you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. (Heb. 4:7)

The day for wholly trusting in God - to do what He has promised while we cease
from our efforts (at maturity, at building His house, at being successful, etc.) - is today.
We must believe in the Lords ability to do in the earth what He has vowed. There will be
a generation who will one day see the consummation of all He has pledged.
And it will be said in that day, Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited
that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us rejoice
and be glad in His salvation. (Isa. 25:9 NASB)
While it is true that Israel did finally enter the land of Canaan, by and large, they
never entered their promised land. Their history is one of constantly failing to learn
Gods ways and enter His rest. Thus, as it says,
For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of
another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has
entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
(Heb. 4:8 - 10)
Therefore, we are called to diligently enter such a lifestyle. It does not entail rest
from all work. Rather, it involves abiding in Him in the work He has given us to do.
Sometimes we just do not clearly recognize the difference between what has
originated in His heart versus what has come from ours. But the Lord is committed to
judging our thoughts and intentions, as well as differentiating for us between soul and
spirit. He knows us intimately and understands how we are tempted in these areas. So let
us draw near to Him, obtain mercy and find grace to help us (4:11 - 16).
Notice, we receive mercy; it is Gods response to our failures. However, grace
must be found in a time of need. The proud who point to all they do for God will not see
their need for it. Until they humble themselves, they will not find it. On the other hand,
the humble will see their inability to impress God with their labors and will cry out in
their need for His ability to be operative in them. Thus, He will oppose the proud and
give grace to the humble. This is His strategy.
The Old Testament priesthood was established by God to communicate His
recognition of mans great need. He instituted the Law to establish a way for His people
to come near through animal sacrifices and priestly intercession. As helpful as it was, it
was but a type or shadow of Christ. However, His present priestly ministry is of a
totally different order than that of the Old Covenant. It finds its roots not in Abraham or
Moses but in Melchizedek (again, another picture of Christ). It is based on the power of
an indestructible life and the eternal promise of God (5:1 - 6).
Gods Oracles

Clearly, as we view the Old Testament Scriptures we see that the burden on Gods
heart was the unveiling of His Son. The New Testament Hebrew believers had lost sight
of the whole thrust of the Law and the Prophets.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you
again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk
and not solid food. (Heb. 5:12)
These believers did not have the New Testament Scriptures; their Bible consisted of the
Old Testament writings. If they were going to walk successfully with God, they would
have to see past the letter of what was written and find the New Covenant. God had
hidden His Son beneath the surface of the Law. If when they gazed at it, they only saw
the commandments, they would miss Gods heart. They needed to gain insight into the
oracles or burdens borne by the prophets of old. Thus, the writer of Hebrews was
anointed by God to articulate to them the superiority of Christ over all religion (even one
authored by God).
The Pattern
One problem facing the Hebrew believers was that Jesus just did not seem to fit
the order of religion that had been established under Moses. If He was Gods high priest,
why was He not from the tribe of Levi?
For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer
the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly
things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the
tabernacle. For He said, See that you make all things according to the pattern
shown you on the mountain. (Heb. 8:4, 5)
Gods desire was that the reality of Heaven be properly expressed on the earth.
Moses had to be accurate in the construction process so that what he built did not
misrepresent Gods design. Because he obeyed, an accurate type or shadow of
heavenly reality was revealed on the earth. The problem with these believers was that
they were going back to shadow instead of seeing the reality that had cast it!
It has been said that as we seek to co-labor with God in the construction of His
house, we must build according to the pattern. Only then will we build accurately.
However, if we do, the result will be as it was with Moses. We will produce only a
shadow of the reality God is establishing in our day. In many ways it will look like
New Testament Christianity on the surface. But it will lack the authenticity of being
corporately born of Gods life.

Today is not the day for bringing forth that which testifies of heavenly reality. We
must have a heart for God to establish among us the heavenly reality itself! God
finished with types and shadows under the Old Covenant. We are not called to find
the right pattern and then implement it. We must respond to Him who is the head of
the Church and submit to His initiatives as He implements His will among us.19 We
must become in practice a people seated in the heavens who express individually and
corporately the mind and heart of Christ on the earth.
It is certainly true that Jesus fulfills the shadow found in the Old Testament
tabernacle with its attending laws and priesthood. However, if Jesus alone is the total
fulfillment then the following verse would make no sense.
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be
purified with these (i.e., animal sacrifices), but the heavenly things themselves
with better sacrifices than these. (Heb. 9:23)
The blood of animals brought a ceremonial purity to the copies of the heavenly
things. However, the heavenly things themselves were purified by a better sacrifice. What
are the heavenly things that needed cleansing? It is clear that Jesus did not need to be
purified by the shedding of blood; we did. We are that people of the heavenly realms
even though we are yet living on the earth. God has
...raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ
Jesus. (Eph. 2:6)
The heavenlies are not somewhere in outer space; they are but a breath away. As a matter
of fact, Gods breath (His Spirit) has birthed us into that realm. It is the domain of the
Lord and His angels.
We are to have insight into that dimension and walk in this life, reflecting the
values and purpose of the One who reigns as absolute King there. The Church is called to
reveal corporately Gods will on the earth in the same way that the human body reveals
the thoughts of the human mind. We have been joined to Christ; He is our head. May God
help us to become in corporate practice what the Scriptures declare is true of us
Since we are not to simply find a pattern in the Scriptures and implement it, how
are we to build? Are there insights to be found in how Moses constructed Gods house in
his day? We will look at this in the next chapter.


This is not to imply that since we are to listen to the Holy Spirits voice in our day we are to therefore
disregard what He has revealed to past generations of believers. The present Church must pay attention to
her history and recognize her spiritual roots.

Lord, help us to be a people who live in the heavenly realms. Forgive us for being
visitors rather than dwellers in the holy of holies. Establish the reality of Heaven in our
midst that we may become a corporate expression, not of religion, but of Your very heart.
In Jesus name. Amen.

By Wisdom

Free Will Offerings

Moses obtained clear instructions from God on how he was to construct the
Tabernacle. When he came down from his meeting with the Lord on the mountain, he
gathered the people together and related His word to them.
Take from among you an offering to the LORD. Whoever is of a willing heart, let
him bring it as an offering to the LORD: gold, silver, and bronze.... (Ex. 35:5)
Notice, he did not try to coerce the people into involvement with the vision. He made it
clear that this house would be built out of willing hearts.
In the same way, Christianity is a free-will offering. All service and giving unto
the Lord is to come as an act of worship, not as a result of the manipulations of men who
are endeavoring to build something for God. When the Lord builds His house, He stirs up
the hearts of His people into sacrificial giving. Notice how God backed up what He had
said to Moses on the mountain.
Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was
willing, and they brought the Lords offering for the work of the tabernacle of
meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. (Ex. 35:21)
Often, it is difficult to wait for the Lord to arise with zeal in the hearts of His people.
Leaders must be very careful in this regard. Our tendency is to get impatient with the
flock and then speak out of frustration. If God has sent us into a particular situation, then
He will arise to fulfill what He has purposed to do. We do not have to defend ourselves
nor fulfill His vision in our own strength. God is at work! We must believe in Him.
Needs and Service

Not only did God stir up the people to give, He raised up specific men to help in
the building process.
And Moses said to the children of Israel, See, the LORD has called by name
Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled
him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all
manner of workmanship, ...and He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him
and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. (Ex. 35:30, 31, 34)
Today the Lord raises up overseers to teach and assist the saints in finding their unique
place of service in Gods house. While it is important that these men articulate the
principles of Kingdom life found in the Scriptures, yet there must be more than this.
There must be the impartation of Gods wisdom through their lives and ministries. The
whole Church must be filled with the wisdom of God. This is key to building Gods
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established. (Prov. 24:3)
At issue is not the great amount of needs both inside as well as outside of Gods
house. No one argues the fact that there must come change both in the Church and in the
world. Souls must be saved, marriages must be restored, bodies must be healed, etc. The
amount of need before us is staggering. At issue is, what is to be our response?
Do we simply try and meet whatever needs are in front of us? Its easy to burn out
doing this. Jesus lived thirty years before doing even one miracle. Obviously, the need of
man was not the primary motivating force in His life; His Fathers will was.
Jesus did nothing of Himself. He only did what He saw the Father doing and He
did it in the same manner (Jn.5:19). Similarly, we must come to grips with accomplishing
the Fathers will on the earth. While it is clear that we cannot be callous to the suffering
of people around us, our objective is the establishing of Gods perfect response to the
painful cries of men. Jesus was Gods perfect answer two thousand years ago; He
remains so today. Only now, Jesus is revealed in corporate expressions of His life, not
just in one individual. The Body of Christ must arise in all its diversity of function.
Notice how this will occur.
Building by Wisdom
And Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan (lit. man wise of heart) in
whom the LORD has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all
manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the
LORD has commanded. (Ex. 36:1)

We must see more than the need of man and the principles of Scripture. We must
be filled with the wisdom of God. His wisdom brings with it the insight on how we are to
respond to present need (both in the Church and outside of it). As each individual is
confronted by both the specific deficiencies before them and Gods insight on how to
meet them, something amazing begins to occur.
Then Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart
the LORD had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the
work. (Ex. 36:2)
When the people received insight on how God wanted to accomplish certain aspects of
the construction, they were stirred to action by His Spirit. Often today, when believers
see deficiencies in the local church, the tendency is to dump it on the man (men) in
full time ministry. We need more involvement by the parents in the Sunday school.
We need to reach out to the youth of our city. We need more evangelism. We need
more intercession.
As long as the assembly continues to burden a few with what is to be done by the
many, we will continue to have burnout among the few! The Body simply will not
emerge in such circumstances. Men are not put into fulltime ministry to meet the
pressing needs of the saints and the world.
If need dictates a mans decision to leave secular employment, it will dominate his
whole ministry. And he will burn out. There is only one reason why a man is released
into financial support by his local church. It must be Fathers will for him. Otherwise,
need will direct his path and he will actually be a hindrance to the emerging of the
Body of Christ (The tendency is to try and be the whole Body yourself!).

The Lord allows His people to see present need not so they can then put it on the
leaders. Rather, they are to cry out to God for wisdom on how they are to respond to what
they see. Of course, as they do this, it would be wise to look to the overseers for input in
the decision-making process.
God has a multi-faceted response to the needs of His universe; it is the Church of
Jesus Christ. He deposits a facet of His wisdom in each of His people and then stirs us to
action in response to Him. Creation waits for Gods sons to arise in His wisdom. The
planet will not be satisfied with the revelation of a new method of church growth. Here is
a very clear distinction: men make methods, God gives wisdom.

Our Lord has a statement to make to all rulers and authorities in heaven and on
earth. That statement is too big for any individual to articulate. It requires a response
from every one of us.
to the intent that now the manifold (or multi-faceted) wisdom of God might be
made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Eph. 3:10, 11)
The eternal purpose of God is to reveal His wisdom through His people not only
to the world but to the powers in the heavens. He has something to say into which angels
are seeking to gain insight (1Pet. 1:12).
Apart from the Body of Christ arising in the wisdom of God, there simply will not
be the impact in our spiritual warfare that so many today seek. The key to shaking the
heavens is not simply that we see the emerging of apostles and prophets in the Church.
Rather, it is that we see the people of God arise in His wisdom! Wise apostles and
prophets will recognize this burden on Gods heart and will give their lives to see it come
to pass.
Lord, pour out Your Spirit of wisdom upon us and stir us into action that You
might be revealed in all the earth. Reveal Your plan not only upon the earth but into the
heavens as well. Lord Jesus, bring down all that can be shaken in the heavenly realms
and bring this age to an end. In Jesus name. Amen.

Dressing for
the Lords Day

The Goal of Gods Judgments: A Prepared Bride

In this final chapter I would like to shift the emphasis from the Churchs identity
as both Christs body and Gods house to that of her calling to be His bride. While a large
portion of Scripture is devoted to the theme of God building His house for His own
eternal habitation, it is His marital relationship with His people that comes forcefully into
view at the end of the Bible,.
Much of the book of Revelation focuses on the cosmic battle of the ages between
the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. However, Gods total and absolute
victory is never in doubt. In fact, His judgment on His enemies culminates as He fulfills
His own very unique end-time goal.
For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the
blood of His servants shed by her. And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great
multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings,
saying, Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice
and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has
made herself ready. (Rev. 19:2, 6, 7)
God is preparing a bride to rule with Him forever. The spiritual war we are
presently in serves His purpose in readying us to fulfill that high and holy calling.
Proper Values
Someone once said that the worlds definition of the golden rule is that those who
have the gold, rule. A quick look at the worlds systems would seem to affirm this. But it
is different in the Kingdom of God. Simply put, Gods value system is totally opposite to

When some rich men brought bags full of money into the temple treasury, the
disciples were impressedand Jesus yawned. But when the widow put her pitifully small
contribution in, the disciples barely noticedwhile Jesus was greatly blessed. They had
been stirred by the amount of money; Jesus was impressed by the amount of selfsacrifice.
The problem the disciples had continues to plague us today. It stems from our
tendency to evaluate by external appearances, while God always looks at the heart.
Jesus - Center Stage
If we would be used by the Lord in preparing His bride, we must have the proper
value system. Whether or not she is beautiful by the worlds standards is really
unimportant. God is not looking to impress the world with her so much as He is to
impress His Son!
The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son.
(Mt. 22: 2)
The Kingdom of God is like a feast where the Groom (His tastes, His desires) is the
focus. All spotlights are on Him! Even the bride herself is not the main event. Her beauty
is only relevant to the extent that it pleases Him; her preparation has been solely for Him.
To the degree she considers what others would like to see in her, she fails to fulfill her
calling. Their evaluation is unimportant and irrelevant; His is of primary significance.
Does this mean the Church is not to take any consideration of the world? Of
course we are. However, the world must not set our standard, define our task, nor issue
our timetable. If what we minister to them is valued only by the benefit to them, then
their evaluation of us will become all important.
But if what we do on the earth is an offering unto Christ on their behalf, then only
His assessment will matter. In Revelation 19 the bride is said to have made herself ready.
Ready for what? For Him! What confirms this? She has put on fine linen garments,
which are her righteous acts.
In other words, her righteous deeds on the earth - her ministry to the world reflect her preparation for Him (her relationship with Christ). The Church is to serve
others at His command, not theirs. To the degree that she does so, she is adorning herself
for Him. Of primary importance to her is what He thinks, not what the media say.
A Christ-centered people will impact the nations of the earth. A Church that
simply focuses on the needs of man will continually react to crises that arise, rather than
function as a prophetic voice reflecting the initiative of God.

Mammon and Beauty

Why was mammon such a common topic of our Lords during His earthly
ministry? Mammon (riches) reflects the power to beautify according to the worlds
standards. It can purchase magnificent cathedrals, attendance at the finest seminaries,
high-tech communication equipment to reach millions, political clout. This is not to
imply that proper use of such things is wrong. However, attractiveness in the sight of God
has nothing to do with them.
The world has its definition of beauty; God has His. Of the two, one is from a
temporal perspective; the other has eternity in mind. One is short-lived; the other lasts
forever. For too long the Church has been impressed with what has attracted men. What
is our goal? To attract men to the Church? If so, then what they think of us will govern
our actions. Or is our goal to become increasingly attractive in Jesus sight? Yes! What
He thinks is of supreme importance. Any bride that dresses to impress anyone other than
her groom has wrong priorities. We are being prepared for a day that has been
exclusively set aside for Him. It will be His day. That is why Scripture calls it the day of
the Lord. It will be a day to consume the temporary and confirm the eternal. We must
dress in preparation for that day.
Of course, reaching out to lost men in the name of Jesus is part of the bridal
apparel we are donning in this day.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news. (Is.
God loves the lost; we are to do so as well. This is attractive in His sight. However, in
this time of evangelistic emphasis, it can be easy to lose sight of Gods priorities.
Numbers can become the mark of a successful local church. Beautiful buildings can
be seen as evidence of Gods approval. Multi-million dollar projects done in the name
of Jesus can seem impressive to many. Money then can become the key ingredient for
maintaining this ministry.
The real question is whether or not God considers it a spiritual success. This is an
issue that Christian leaders must continually answer as they endeavor to serve Gods
people (assisting Christs bride with her wedding dress).
The truth is that money itself never enhances the beauty of Gods people in His sight.
In fact, wrong attitudes toward it can quickly mar the eternal qualities of faithfulness
so important to our Groom. Thus we may grow in increasing beauty in the sight of
men while simultaneously causing grief to the heart of God. Jesus was so concerned
with the seductive power of earthly riches that on several occasions He warned that it
was impossible to serve both God and mammon. (Luke 16:13; Mt. 6:24)

Corrupted Theology
To serve God means that He calls the shots in our lives; to serve money means
that it does. This shift can occur very subtly. A project may start out with great
enthusiasm as God leads His people in a new direction. The finances to accomplish it
quickly flow in. As the endeavor nears completion, perhaps too much attention is given to
the usefulness of the funds God supplied. Mammon begins to get a bit more credit than it
deserves. Soon, actions are taken to get more capital. Thus, mammon is calling the shots
as the need for money dictates the activity.
Instead of seeking God for His direction, methods that have worked before are
enlisted again. Then, ever so subtly, our theology begins to give a greater place to earthly
riches than God intended. If only I had more money, I could really impact the nations
with the gospel and help extend Gods kingdom. Money is not the driving force behind
Gods purpose. It is simply a tool in the hand of the Master.
Contrary to the impression left by some of our brothers on Christian television,
the Lord has plenty of resources to accomplish what He desires. He does not need money;
He created gold in the first place! He only needs our obedience with what He has already
put into our hands.
Dressing for the Lords Day
In light of this, how are we to dress for the day of the Lord?20 First, we must
understand what He defines as riches. If mammon brings an earthly beauty, what brings a
heavenly one? And where is it to be found? We must be....
...knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full
assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of Gods mystery, that
is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge. (Col. 2:2,3 NASB)


I believe the Lords day will be exactly that - the day when the whole universe focuses on Him. It will be
His day. Some have said that John was referring to Sunday when he spoke of being caught up in the Spirit
on the Lords day. (Rev. 1:10) However, Sunday is referred to as the first day of the week in the
Scriptures; the last day of the week is called the Sabbath.
The book of Revelation is truth that John saw as he was caught up in the Spirit into the day of the
Lord! To say, The Lords Day is not the day of the Lord is to say, The houses roof is not the roof of the
house. We must be careful that we not twist the plain meaning of the Bible (and even the English
language!) in our endeavors to gain spiritual insight.

The supreme riches of the universe are hidden in the Son! They are not found
lying on the surface so that we can easily fit Him into our schedule in quickie five
minute devotional times while we hurry about with more important things to do. God
has called us to plumb the depths of His own being!
It is in knowing Him that we will receive insight concerning how to walk before
Him and impact the nations. He has a plan. If only we would take more time to listen.
Simply put, the treasures of eternity are the wisdom of God and the knowledge of His
ways. As our ministry on the earth - both to the world and to the Church - increasingly
reflects these, we will be literally adorning ourselves for the day of the Lord!
Lord, we present ourselves again to You. Forgive us for wrong priorities, for
fitting You into our schedules instead of centering our lives around You. We realize that
the wealth of Heaven is found in You. We commit ourselves to pursuing You and spending
time in Your presence. Teach us Your ways, reveal Your wisdom to us and cause us to
learn Your value syste, that our lives and ministries may be in harmony with Your
process of preparing Your bride with Your eternal beauty. In Jesus Name. Amen.


God is at work to both beautify His bride and establish His glorious house in these
days. Only He can do this. The methodology of man is simply insufficient to achieve
what God has purposed. We desperately need Him to come and fill us with His presence
and change us from the inside out. Simply put, what the Church needs is to bear an
abundance of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Obviously, there are many necessary ingredients that go into growing spiritual
fruit in our lives. However, since God is not looking for the fruit of human effort but for
the fruit of His own life in us, the most important ingredient is the presence of the Holy
We must not consider Pentecost to be only an historical event. Rather, we must
have an ongoing experience of the rain of heaven in our midst. He is as necessary to the
Church as rain is to the land. We cannot produce fruit that reflects the character of God
without the continual abiding presence of His Spirit within us and the continual
outpouring of His Spirit upon us. God Himself is our hope of fruitfulness.
Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a
fruitful field and the fruitful field is counted as a forest. Then justice will dwell in
the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. (Is. 32:16)
Justice and righteousness characterize those who are bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
Righteousness is found in a proper relationship with Him; justice is found in a proper
relationship among men.
While righteousness is a gift from God, justice occurs in the expression of that
righteousness toward others. Justice is found where men treat one another as the Lord
intends. Men have always longed to be treated with fairness and dignity. Yet the lack of
true justice has been a distinguishing mark of human history. Greater education has not
established it. The disciplines of science, philosophy, and psychology have not brought it
forth. Communism, capitalism, and socialism have all promised it; however, we always
find much injustice in every society built exclusively on these economic ideals.
Justice is the mark of the Kingdom of God! All human attempts to produce it
apart from God have failed and will fail.

God promised that when He poured out His Spirit upon His people, justice would
be apparent in their midst (Is. 32:15, 16). Men would treat one another as they ought.
Jesus pointed to this truth just before His ascension. He promised to pour out the Holy
Spirit upon His disciples, and then He commanded them to treat each other as He had
treated them (Jn. 14:16, 17; 15:12). This was to be the sign that they were followers of
Gods true Messiah (Jn. 13:35; 17:22, 23).
Without question, the Church has failed to express the Kingdom of God as she
has been commissioned to do. As we see the many divisions in the Church and a lack of
godly character, we ask, What is the solution? We need to humble ourselves before
Him and seek a fresh visitation from Heaven. He is our only hope. He has promised that
righteousness and justice will be found in our midst with the outpouring of His Spirit.
History and personal experience have proven that He can be trusted.
Ultimately, the goal is Christ! Jesus has so identified Himself with His people that
He speaks of us as a body, with Himself as the head. Thus, what is seen is not two
separate, independent entities, but one corporate being - Head and body, which is Christ.
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one
body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. (1Cor. 12:12)
In this corporate man, each member retains his individuality; this must never be lost.
Jesus retains His personal identity as King of kings, Lord of lords, the Great I Am, the
One worthy to be worshiped forevermore. He is God. We also keep our individuality, for
Jesus loves us and died personally for each of us. He wants to have a close, intimate
relationship with every one of us. Yet, while we retain our individuality, each of us has
lost our independence for we are now individually members of one another (Rom.
We are literally parts of one another and in need of each other. Because the
Church has not recognized this one basic truth, there has been division of what is
indivisible, a weakening of what should contain all power, a tearing down of what is
being built, and much death in what should be characterized by life. Sadly, many
Christians are oblivious to the paradox of these things.
Little by little, though, the Body of Christ is coming together. He is restoring the
Church; He is preparing His bride for His return!
Let us be people who contribute to this end.
Lord, may Your life be revealed in us. May Your holy character be increasingly
manifest in our lives. And may the corporate expression of Your person be produced
and put on display for all the nations to see. Lord, establish justice and righteousness
in the land. In Jesus name. Amen.

Chapter 2
(1) James W. Garrett, The DOULOS Principle, (Tulsa Christian Fellowship, P.O. Box
50130, Tulsa, OK 74150), p. 4
(2) Garrett, p. 7
(3) Garrett, p. 16
Chapter 3
(1) R. Paul Stevens, Liberating The Laity, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985),
p. 25
(2) Stevens, p. 111
(3) Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Pauls Or Ours?, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B
Eerdmans Co., 1962), p. 76
Chapter 6
(1) Howard A. Snyder, The Community of the King, (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity
Press, 1977), pp. 82, 83
(2) Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership, (Littleton, CO: Lewis and Roth Publishers,
1986), pp. 12, 13
(3) Strauch, p. 16
(4)Dale Rumble, And Then The End Shall Come, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image
Publishers, 1991), p. 13
Chapter 7
(1) Donald Rumble, Winds of Change, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers,
1986), p. 47
Chapter 9
(1) Dr. Bill Hamon, Prophets And The Prophetic Movement, (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny
Image Publishers, 1990), pp. 74, 75
The basic text of the Epilogue was first published in a booklet by the author, By Their
Fruits You Shall Know Them, (Saugerties, NY: Saugerties Christian Fellowship, 1991),
pp. 12, 13